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Matt Patricia: Coach of the Year candidate?

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Yes, it’s extremely early, but Matt Patricia is already getting some national praise

Los Angeles Chargers v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. Any talk of postseason awards like MVP or Offensive Player of the Year in October is extremely premature.

... but it’s the bye week, give us a break.

Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia entered the 2019 season as a common name on many “Coaches on the Hot Seat” lists. While also premature, it was at least a little understandable considering how disappointing and—at times—dysfunctional his first year with Detroit was.

But it only took a month into the season for Patricia to go from the Hot Seat to Coach of the Year candidate.

Peter King of Pro Football Talk listed his top four coach of the year candidates after the first month of the season, and Patricia came in fourth on his list:

  1. Sean Payton
  2. Bill Belichick
  3. Sean McDermott
  4. Matt Patricia

This is especially surprising considering how under fire Patricia was after Week 1. The Lions’ late-game collapse was largely blamed on Patricia’s in-game management, and our own Mansur Shaheen even wrote that Patricia was simply bad at his job.

But Patricia has rightfully earned a lot of credit since then, pulling back-to-back upsets against the Chargers and Eagles, and nearly pulling off a third against the Chiefs last week. The Lions’ defense has been stellar against the pass, the players seem to be buying into Patricia’s culture, and Darrell Bevell is looking like the right hire at offensive coordinator.

However, it’s important to take a step back right now. This team is only 2-1-1, they still haven’t played a divisional game, and they only have one win inside the entire conference. It’s one thing to play one good month of football. It’s another to continually improve throughout the year.

Patricia has had a pretty solid month, and he’s got a lot of people in Detroit believing the Lions may finally be on the right path. But fans are fickle and early success doesn’t guarantee anything beyond that. If Patricia keeps the Lions on this path and strings a bunch of wins together, then he’ll truly be in this Coach of the Year conversation. For now, he’s put together a nice little September—especially when you remember just how slow this team came out of the gate last year.