This is a scenario that’s been floating around Lions Twitter for quite a while now: the Detroit Lions should fire Matt Patricia and hand the reins over to special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs. I’ve often thought it was ridiculous to even consider. Here’s a guy with no head coaching experience and is just nine weeks into his first coordinator job. What difference would it make? Well that’s kind of a part of my argument today. What difference would it make to try it out?
The Lions are clearly not going to amount to anything in 2020. The playoffs are a long forgotten dream, and there’s a good chance Sheila Ford Hamp may let this coaching staff go as early as this week. So we might as well have some fun and give the kid a chance. When it’s all said and done, Brayden will probably be the only coach left on this team in 2021.
Here’s the logical argument. The Lions offense and defense is under-performing. There’s no doubt about that. The special teams units however, are great. they’re blocking punts, stopping guys on returns, returning the ball well, punting well and kicking okay. This just didn’t happen overnight. The Lions struggled on special teams in 2019, now they’re one of the best units in the league. That’s because of Coombs.
Ideally he can bring that energy to the rest of the team and at best, get some wins and maybe create a miracle run to the playoffs and at worst, win a game or too and do some fun stuff. What’s the risk?
That was the logical argument. Here’s the potential reach argument. I’ve personally been saying for a long time that the Lions should jump on this young head coach train. Look around at some of the best teams in the league. The 49ers with 40-year-old Kyle Shanahan, the Rams with 34-year-old Sean McVay, the Cardinals with 41-year-old Kliff Kingsbury and the Packers with 40-year-old Matt Lafleur. All these teams are currently or have recently experienced success with young coaches. Yes, there are old guys that are having success too, but those guys have jobs and will continue to have jobs when it comes time for the Lions to make their hires.
There’s a reason for that. These guys understand how the game is currently being played. It’s high-powered offenses that throw the ball a ton and have explosive running backs. It’s getting creative on defense as well. The Lions currently have a head coach in Matt Patricia, who admittedly isn’t that old, but runs the offense like he’s got Jim Brown out there and all the games are being televised in black and white.
Coombs could be that next young guy that’s willing to get creative and try new things on both sides of the ball. While there are lot of things holding the Lions back, a lack of creativity and willingness to try something different is their easiest problem to fix.
Again, there’s nothing to lose here. That’s the biggest part of the argument. The Lions are probably starting everything over from scratch in in 2021. So, please Lions, if you’re listening, let’s just have some fun experimenting. Maybe it might all pay off. Someone will make this guy a head coach someday, might as well be Detroit.