clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn have murdered the Lions

They’re dead, and we all know the culprits.

Kansas City Chiefs v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Remember how stupidly happy you were? Remember when you thought that this was it. Matt Patricia would be the coach to finally take the Detroit Lions to the promise land. It was supposed to be a simple transition from middling playoff contenders to championship contenders. It’s turned out to be all of your worst Lions nightmares come true.

I’m sitting here after the Lions 20-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with this team. The only thing that keeps popping into my mind is that Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn have murdered this team. So I’m just going to go with that thought and expound upon why I feel that way. Join me.

Patricia is the worst coach in Lions history

At 13-28-1, it’s as ugly as it gets. Sure Marty Mornhinweg went 5-27 and took the wind, but even that laughable time in Lions history was at least fun to watch. It was so bad it was good. It’s definitely not fun right now.

Matt Patricia came to a team that had just went 9-7, and was pretty fun to watch. Even when they lost, you knew you would see something fun, and at least then we had those meaningful December games. Patricia tore that team down to the bone and then broke the bone.

You know that old sports movie trope where a coach comes to a new team that has a history of losing and is a total hard ass, makes the guys run laps until they puke and they become champions. Well, Matt Patricia attempted to do that in Detroit. The only problem is that the team wasn’t bad when he got here, and all he really did was piss everyone off.

He then proceeded to alienate the team’s best players and chase them out of town. Then Patricia spent three years trying to establish many things that the Lions clearly couldn’t establish and never broke from that at any point. Not once did Matt Patricia realize the error of his ways and make adjustments.

This video always makes me think about Patricia’s coaching style.

There’s Matt just plugging away at the door. He keeps hitting it with the battering ram over and over again because he’s sure it’s going to work. The other officers are trying to assist him, but he doesn’t want help. He doesn’t want help because he knows it’s going to work, and he’s the only one that can make it happen. Even if it hasn’t worked the previous 10 times, he knows that it will happen if he just keeps on going.

A normal person would maybe try something else, like an explosive or something. I don’t know what the police use. I’m just saying that a normal person would realize this isn’t working and try other options.

It’s made the Lions incredibly predictable. So predictable that people watching from home can call an entire drive’s worth of plays before they happen. Players from opposing teams have, on many occasions, admitted they knew exactly what the Lions were going to do.

Patricia’s narcissism and unwillingness to change will be his undoing. He may have very well cost himself a future head coaching job by simply not making adjustments. That’s it. So many of the Lions’ issues over the last three years could have probably been easily fixed if Patricia isn’t standing outside the door with a battering ram hitting the same spot over and over again.

Think about it. How many times have the Lions tried to get Adrian Peterson to work? It’s entirely predictable what they’re going to do every time. Think back a few weeks ago when the Lions played the Falcons. The Lions had a fourth-and=1 opportunity and lined up as if they were going to run Peterson straight up the middle. The Falcons defense completely bit on it. This would have been the optimal time to run play action pass and take advantage of the defense. They, instead, ran the same play that Keanu Neal had blown up for a loss in the 1st quarter and Dante Fowler read it like a book and blew it up.

That play explains Matt Patricia to a tee. Instead of simply understanding that everyone knows you’re going to run Peterson, he runs Peterson thinking that sticking to the script is the way to go. You can’t win that way. You have to be able to adjust. It’s hard to adjust when you’re sure you’re not doing anything wrong.

Then there’s Bob

I know everyone has the their crosshairs pointed squarely at Matt Patricia and his staff. That’s fine. They should shoulder a lot of the blame. But they’re not the biggest issue with this team. The biggest issue is Bob Quinn. Why? There’s so many reasons.

First off, one of the biggest issues with Matt Patricia’s narcissistic coaching style is that general manager Bob Quinn nurtured it all the way. He did that because he’s exactly the same. Here are two guys that spent so much time around a winning franchise that they thought it was a winning franchise because of them. They got it so stuck in their head that they had the recipe for success, and all the Lions ever needed was them.

The only recipe they wound up bringing to the team was from the anarchist cookbook. They poisoned this team down to the roots. They just let go of great players like Quandre Diggs and Darius Slay in favor of enforcing a culture. The culture shouldn’t be enforced. It should come across organically. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

Quinn has also made incredibly weird personnel decisions like letting Graham Glasgow just walk away for seemingly no reason at all. He appears to be doing it again with Kenny Golladay right now. Not only is Kenny Golladay set to become a free agent, but so is Danny Amendola, Marvin Jones Jr., Matt Prater, Romeo Okwara, Duron Harmon, Jamal Agnew, Miles Killebrew and more. Quinn is more than likely going to get fired and there’s a pretty good chance all these players leave with him.

It’s like Quinn is playing Super Mario and refusing to pick up extra lives because he’s sure he doesn’t need them. He’s making the decisions that a championship-winning GM would make, except there’s no championship. When you look at the good teams in the NFL, they are teams that keep the circulation of good players going. They scout well, draft well and trade well. So it’s okay to let a guy go when you don’t want to pay him big money because you know the good players just keep coming in. That’s likely how Quinn thinks. Why overpay the good players when he can just easily replace them? It’s great when it works. But in this case, it’s lunacy, because Quinn shown any capacity to keep a flowing stream of talent towards Detroit.

Ultimately what he’s doing is leaving the Lions holding the bag. People always think Matt Millen is the worst GM in Lions history. They’re probably right. But an argument can be made that Bob Quinn should hold that distinction now. At least when Millen was fired, he hadn’t lost any good players. There were none to lose, to be fair, but the Lions had something to show for it in a way of good draft picks and money in their pocket. If you’re a fan, you at the very least felt optimistic about the future.

Bob Quinn is about to leave this team high and dry. So many of the good players we’ve seen land in Detroit are either gone or likely leaving after 2020, and what money the Lions have is wrapped up in players that didn’t work out or only fit one system.

Not to mention Quinn will have wasted another five years of guys like Matthew Stafford’s career. The window that opened up in April of 2009 is pretty much shut at this point. It’s hard to look at this time and think it was any better than Matt Millen’s time.

Some might say that murder is a harsh word. There’s really no other way to look at it. Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia took over a fun, ambitious and optimistic franchise and escorted it out to the dessert and put it down. I’m not sure how long it will take the Lions to get out of this. You might want to settle in for the long haul, though.

Pride of Detroit Direct

Sign up now for a 7-day free trial of Pride of Detroit Direct, with exclusive updates from Jeremy Reisman on the ground at Allen Park, instant reactions after each game, and in-depth Lions analysis from film expert Jon Ledyard.