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If Matt Patricia is their preference, the Lions should wait for him

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It’s worth the risk for the guy you want.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

I’m not here to convince you that Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia should be the next Detroit Lions head coach. By now, we’ve all dissected every quote from a former player, tapped every Patriots resource we have and even scrutinized his affinity for pencils. You’ve already made your determination on Patricia. You’re either in or out.

I do, however, want to address the conundrum the Lions currently face. By all accounts Patricia is their favorite candidate. However, it also appears that the New York Giants like Patricia a lot and could be zeroing in on him. The last factor, Patricia’s preference, seems to be pointing in New York’s favor.

In other words, the Lions have two options: skip out on Patricia now and hire one of their other candidates, like Mike Vrabel or Pat Shurmur (once be becomes available), or wait it out for Patricia, not knowing for sure that he will even be available.

If Patricia is truly their guy, they should wait it out and risk losing out on him. I’ll tell you why, by addressing the counterarguments, starting with the easiest.

“If Patricia doesn’t want to be here, then we don’t want him.”

I’ve seen this argument pop up in the comment sections on just about every platform over the past few days. It’s nothing but petty. “You don’t like me? Well, I never liked you anyways.”

Patricia is allowed to like the Giants job better. It’s closer to family, it comes with better job security (historically speaking), and it’s a franchise that has much more lore than that of the Lions.

But just because he’d prefer that job doesn’t mean he would treat the Lions job lightly should he have to settle for it. By all accounts, Patricia is a workaholic, and if he gave the Lions job anything less than his all, other teams would certainly hear about it and it would ruin any chance at another job.

Then there’s the worry that Patricia would jump ship if he ever got an opportunity to coach the Giants again. That sort of worry is completely unfounded, as a lateral head coaching jump is almost unheard of in the NFL. I’m fully confident that even if the Lions weren’t his first choice, Patricia would show up on Day 1 with just as much enthusiasm for the opportunity.

You’re wasting time on filling other coaching holes

This is a fair point, and one that the Lions should absolutely consider. As of now, the Lions have three job openings: Head coach, offensive line coach and defensive coordinator. However, the new head coach may want to overhaul everything. Lions general manager Bob Quinn said last week that the new head coach will have full autonomy in building their coaching staff.

So the longer they wait, the smaller the pool of candidates to fill out the rest of the staff.

But I’m not all that worried for a few reasons. First, Detroit likely already has a good idea of who these new coaches want to bring in as supplemental staff. It was certainly discussed in the interview process, so not only does Detroit know who these addition hires may be, but there’s a good chance those extra hires probably know they may be in the running for a job in Detroit, too.

So the Lions can be their own judge. If these additional coaches start taking other jobs, then it may be time to make a move. But their silence so far tells me that they aren’t too worried.

Additionally, the Lions may not have that many vacancies to fill. As some have theorized, offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter may be sticking around to coach the offense. We know that Matthew Stafford prefers it that way, and, unlike Teryl Austin, he currently remains in Detroit.

Defensive coordinator is certainly a big, important hole to fill, but the rest of the defensive staff—like defensive lines coach Kris Kocurek or linebacker coach Bill Sheridan—are well regarded enough that they may stick around for another year anyways. If the new coach doesn’t get along well enough with these guys, reconsider in 2018.

You’re missing out on offseason preparation

This argument is based on the fact that several important offseason events are coming up in the next few weeks, including the East/West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl. Obviously, it would be beneficial for the entire coaching staff to be in place so that scouts know what they’re looking for.

But that is just a small short-term benefit over a potential long-term gain. A head coach missing out on a Senior Bowl isn’t going to set your franchise back years, but hiring the wrong head coach certainly could.

Regardless of whether there’s a coaching staff in place, Bob Quinn likely has an idea of how he wants to build the team—regardless of head coach. And he already has the scouts in place to do the heavy lifting. If the plan changes when a head coach is hired, any good scouting department should have all the necessary resources to make said adjustments. The tape will always be out there to look back over, if need be.

It’s humiliating to lose out to the Giants

Yes, it would be a bad look for the Lions to wait all the way until possibly February only to miss out on Patricia to the Giants. Everyone would know what happened, and the Lions would have to come out and pretend like Mike Vrabel was their guy all along. The Same Old Lions people would “Same Old Lions” all over the place. “Martha Ford needs to the sell the team.” Yada, yada yada.

But wouldn’t it be a lot more embarrassing if the Lions got impatient now, hired someone else and then it turned out the Giants didn’t pick up Patricia? In this case, the only thing that got in between Detroit and their No. 1 candidate was their own impatience. They didn’t get their guy when they very well could have.

If the Lions wait it out and miss, they’re still likely to get the best candidate that was available to them—whether that be Mike Vrabel (who still doesn’t have any other suitors) or someone else. Everyone else may laugh, but the Lions will have done everything they could get their guy, and they’d still come out with a pretty good-looking candidate.

If the Lions get impatient, they may still get a good candidate, but there’s a good chance they’d miss out on their first choice, and that would never be forgotten.

Maybe I’ve watched too many romcoms, but if you know someone is The One, you wait for them. You don’t settle until you absolutely have to.

Poll

If Patricia is their guy, what should the Lions do?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Get it over with and grab someone else
    (112 votes)
  • 91%
    Wait it out for a chance at Patricia
    (1142 votes)
1254 votes total Vote Now