After a Week 1 collapse led to the Detroit Lions’ first loss of the season, you could begin to see the writing on the wall for the Lions’ current regime. It was a bit faded, but you could see it. After a 42-21 loss to the Packers on Sunday, the writing on the wall is now so bright and bold that it glows in the dark.
It’s clear at this point that it’s not working, and it’s unlikely to ever work. The Lions are 9-24-1 under Matt Patricia. They haven’t won a game since October of 2019, they haven’t won an away game since September 2019, and perhaps the worst one, they haven’t won a divisional game since December 2018. If you’re the Ford family, what more do you need to see to make your decision?
At this point, it seems clear that the Lions—unless they somehow rattle off 10 wins from here—are going to be looking for a new head coach very soon. The question is no longer if, but when will they relieve Matt Patricia of his duties?
Let’s look at the two different scenarios.
Doing it now
This is obviously the popular opinion among Lions fans right now. It’s possible. There have been many situations in the past that saw teams fire coaches in season. Just last year the Carolina Panthers fired Ron Rivera at the beginning of December. It happens early too. The Browns fired Hue Jackson in October during the 2018 season. It can be done. But is it the way to go?
The thought here would be that the Lions would have an interim coach who is already on staff. The popular scenario going around social media is that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell would take the job in this case. Then, I suppose, the idea is that the Lions go on a miracle run with Bevell as their leader and the team wins it all.
That seems like a dream that probably wouldn’t come true. The Lions absolutely have a problem with coaching, but they also have a problem with talent and the person recruiting that talent. As much as you want it to happen, firing Patricia doesn’t suddenly mean the Lions defense gets better and it doesn’t do anything improve any other facet of the team.
But I will entertain the idea just for fun. Going back to Hue Jackson and the Browns, the team did wind up going 5-3 with interim head coach Gregg Williams at the helm. It’s only Week 2. Whoever would take over for the Lions would have 14 weeks to get over their culture and schemes. It’s enticing to think about for sure.
Another pro here is that if the risk doesn’t work out, there’s really no skin lost here. The Lions are in same boat they were before they made a change at head coach... just waiting until January to figure out what’s next for the franchise.
Lions fans know how this all works. They’ve been through it several times. If the Lions decide to wait till the end of the season—which they’ll probably do—they’ll hit the coaching search hard in January and try to find whoever might be the next guy to give the Lions a shot. Of course, there’s also a strong chance they’re looking for a new GM too. That is, of course, unless Bob Quinn is excused from the team midseason much like Martin Mayhew was in 2015. That’ll give the team more time to find a new GM by the time the coaching search is ready to begin. In fact, I would bet that if the Lions do decide to make changes during the season, it’ll be Quinn that’s gone before Patricia.
Don’t worry, this section of the article has a dream sequence too. What if the Lions make a huge turnaround and squeak into the playoffs? You’ll be glad the Lions didn’t act off emotions so early in the season. Okay, dream sequence complete.
Look there’s no telling when the Lions will make a change. There’s really no concrete evidence to show us that they will make that change at all. After all, we’re just getting to know new team owner Sheila Ford Hamp.
There’s a thought out there that the COVID-19 pandemic could affect whether teams decide to make changes, but that shouldn’t matter since the Lions aren’t the only team affected. Other teams seem to have adjusted to the shortened offseasons and lack of preseason just fine. However, you never know how each individual owner is going to feel at the end of year, and that’s especially true of Ford Hamp.
I understand you’re upset, but right now, the only thing Lions fans can do is wait to see what happens.