The Detroit Lions officially fired Jim Caldwell at 7:42 a.m. ET on New Year’s Day. By the end of the day, the Lions already had six candidates to replace him, reportedly requesting an interview with all six men.
Bob Quinn was clearly prepared to make a such a move, and as a result, the Lions are wasting no time in getting that position filled. Here’s a look at the first six candidates that have emerged:
- Patriots DC Matt Patricia
- Panthers DC Steve Wilks
- Texans DC Mike Vrabel
- Vikings OC Pat Shurmur
- Lions DC Teryl Austin
- Packers assistant HC/LB coach Winston Moss
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which of these six candidates is your favorite to become the Lions head coach
My answer: First, I want to say that I actually like all six of these candidates. Even Winston Moss, who has scared some Lions fans away because of how bad the Packers’ defense has been, makes a lot of sense to me. First, he appears to be a linebacking guru, which could be exactly what the Lions need because of Jarrad Davis and Jalen Reeves-Maybin. But, also, Moss has gained a reputation in Green Bay for being an excellent leader, which is ultimately what the Lions are seeking to replace Caldwell. “Moss impressed McCarthy with his leadership skills when the two worked together for five seasons in New Orleans and again in 2006 in Green Bay,” the Packers’ official website claims.
But, ultimately, I think I’m actually leaning towards the most popular candidate: Matt Patricia. The Patriots’ defensive coordinator not only has the experience that some of these candidates are lacking, but his ability to lead is additionally well-documented.
We’ve pointed this out before, but this Sports Illustrated profile of Patricia is really eye-opening. Just look at this passage and try not to get excited about adding Patricia’s football mind to the Lions organization:
When undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson at the goal line to win Super Bowl XLIX, Butler credited Patricia for preparing him to expect a throw, when millions of people at home thought Seattle would run Marshawn Lynch. With Patricia in his ear, Mayo found most of what he said came true. “It was like having a cheat sheet for the exam,” Mayo says. “Like having the answers for the test.”
And while questions about Patricia’s maturity are legit—especially after a Jim Caldwell era that was defined by professionalism—even those concerns seem overblown by the silly Roger Goodell t-shirt incident. By all accounts, Patricia is fabulous motivator and players will “go to war for him.” Just read this article on the impact Patricia has had on the lives of some Patriots players.
Patricia also had a way of connecting with the players, even as a graduate assistant. Goldman suspected he'd be going places.
"He has tremendous knowledge of the game, but players love playing for that guy," he said. "I know one thing about Matt, he's such a personable guy. You feel good when you are around him."
While I do think Patricia’s success as a defensive coordinator is a bit overstated, I think he checks all of the other boxes necessary to be a good addition to the Lions’ coaching staff. But, overall, I’m very happy with the current set of candidates.
Who is your favorite of the Lions’ 6 coaching candidates?
This poll is closed
Patriots DC Matt Patricia
Panthers DC Steve Wilks
Texans DC Mike Vrabel
Vikings OC Pat Shurmur
Lions DC Teryl Austin
Packers LB coach Winston Moss
I don’t like any of the candidates