Matt Patricia has officially been announced as the next Detroit Lions head coach, and he’s ready to hit the ground running. The first-time NFL head coach sounded enthusiastic in his written statement on Monday afternoon.
“This position comes with great responsibility, and I will commit every ounce of my energy to this football team, starting today,” Patricia said.
The Lions will need that commitment. They’ve plateaued at 9-7 for the past two seasons, and despite three playoff appearances since 2011, Detroit has failed to win a postseason game since the 1991 season.
But for a coordinator becoming a head coach for the first time in their career, what is a realistic goal? The Lions have some key pieces already in place, but even Sean McVay, the prototype for a successful first-time head coach, didn’t manage to win a playoff game in his first season.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
What is a realistic goal for Matt Patricia in his first year as Detroit Lions head coach?
My answer: I still think Patricia’s goal should be at the very least a playoff win. That’s a lofty goal for a team that has gone nearly three decades without a postseason win, but the entire purpose of firing Jim Caldwell was to quit meddling in the middle of the standings and to take the next step. Patricia may go through some growing pains as he learns the responsibilities of head coaching, but the Lions can’t afford for that to take long.
Lions receiver Golden Tate certainly doesn’t want to wait. “I don’t want to hear any developmental stuff. I don’t want to hear we’re almost there,” Tate told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s time to win right now, and that’s what I’m expecting.”
That’s not an unrealistic expectation from Tate. The Lions already have their franchise quarterback, an offense that has been borderline top 10 (despite no running game), and a few very talented young players on defense.
The NFC North is not going to be easy in 2018, and Detroit’s schedule looks daunting. But general manager Bob Quinn made it clear that 9-7 was not good enough for this franchise. So Patricia needs to deliver and deliver fast.