Back in January, I spoke about the potential benefits of a Matt Patricia hire for the Detroit Lions, and why their situation was different from the previous coaches from the Bill Belichick tree. One of my bigger points was the already-established relationship between Patricia and Lions general manager Bob Quinn. That sort of harmonious relationship is rare, considering both worked alongside for 12 years, using the same scouting methods.
Ever since Patricia walked through the door in early February, both he and Quinn have been emphasizing the importance of this previous relationship. On Wednesday, he mentioned just how easily it was to fall back into a comfortable working relationship with Quinn and how that has helped him save time.
“We kind of just fall right back into our normal routine and it’s like, you know, like he said, good old days,” Patricia said. “When you have that communication that flows smoothly like that, things tend to go a little bit more quicker.”
It’s imperative that things move quickly in the Lions’ front office, because Patricia had a late start to evaluating the Lions’ personnel. Up until February 4, Patricia’s sole focus was on the New England Patriots, meaning he’s had less than a month to get to know his own roster.
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn sympathizes with the Lions, as he had to deal with a similar situation, and he knows how hard that transition can be.
“All of your time and focus was with the previous team,” Quinn told the media on Wednesday. “So you don’t really know your own club and your needs as well.”
As the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks in 2014, Dan Quinn had essentially accepted the Falcons head coaching position, but still had to coach Seattle in the Super Bowl—an almost identical situation to Patricia.
However, when Dan Quinn arrived in Atlanta, he didn’t have the benefit of a general manager he had worked with before—though Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff did ironically spend years as a personnel director for the Patriots. Quinn said that “point of attack” tapes prepared by the team really helped him get up to speed on the team’s needs.
So with that experience under his belt, what does he think of how the Lions are handling their situation? So far, he’s impressed:
Dan Quinn on how coaches who join a new team after the Super Bowl need to play catch up... Like Matt Patricia for the Lions this year. pic.twitter.com/J0ktYTFIYx— Rebecca Toback (@Rebecca_Toback) February 28, 2018
“They are really in good shape in terms of the front office that they know their needs,” Quinn said. “That’s a big bridge for Matt (Patricia) knowing that they have that handled. That was the big case for me and Thomas (Dimitroff) as well.”
While no head coach is going to trash another publicly, it’s nice to hear from an experienced coach just what the Lions are going through right now. Quinn’s words hold more weight than the normal NFL coach because of how strikingly similar the Lions’ situation is to his own.
Now it will be up for Patricia to turn a similar situation into similar results. In just two years, Quinn completely turned around the Falcons’ lackluster defense and got them to a Super Bowl. Patricia will be expected to make a similar, quick turnaround in Detroit.
Patricia admitted on Wednesday that he is still a little behind schedule a month into his job, but it’s clear that his pairing with Bob Quinn is already starting to pay off.