The Patriot way is now a thing of the past in Allen Park.
The heat under Matt Patricia’s seat had been getting more intense for several weeks now. As this season began to spiral, the questions got tougher and it felt like this result was inevitable.
Bob Quinn was the wildcard. Would he stay? Would he be allowed to hire a 3rd head coach?
The answers on both came down Saturday when team Chairman Sheila Ford Hamp and team President Rod Wood announced that they had both been fired.
This was the right move. Patricia never got any traction as a head coach. He was brought here to finish what Jim Caldwell couldn’t and he never came close to equaling what his predecessor accomplished. Now, mind you, Jim Caldwell isn’t the standard by which head coaches are judged. However, when you say the 9 and 7 that Caldwell produced wasn’t good enough and the next guy doesn’t even come close to that, then you know where things are headed.
Quinn had 5 years on the job to prove that he could build a winning roster. That didn’t happen. Currently the Lions are half a team. Their offense, when healthy, has enough talent to compete and win in this league. (Although it’s underachieved this year, but that’s for a different time). The defense is another story. Patricia came in with the well earned reputation as a defensive whiz. The numbers in New England and his success there back that up. It didn’t work here. Not even close. Outside of half a season in 2018 when Snacks Harrison came in and the defense took off, it’s been bad. Really bad. Always near the bottom of the league bad. That’s on both of them.
If you look at that defensive roster, where are the difference makers? Outside of Trey Flowers, who can change a game? If you are still asking that question 5 years in, you have a major problem. And you end up losing your job. They’ve consistently been unable to stop the run. They’ve consistently been unable to pressure the passer. What’s left?
Both these guys were regarded as good hires. Quinn had a reputation as an up and coming personnel whiz. Patricia had reached the point where it was his time. Nobody said they were bad hires when they were made. They didn’t work. It happens. Move on.
Now Sheila Ford Hamp and Rod Wood have to find a new direction. She didn’t have many answers when she met with the media and she said that. Fair. She knows what she doesn’t want. That’s why this regime is gone. She knows what she does want. She just has to figure out the best way to find those people. They indicated that they will exhaust all resources to get it right.
Job one: find the right General Manager. I don’t care who you hire as the Head Coach, if you don’t have the talent to make it work then you’re done. You need to be able to evaluate talent, build a team and have a vision that you stick to. Think Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
It won’t be easy. Houston needs a GM and Atlanta does too. There will be competition. And it is hard to find good personnel guys. But it’s the key to everything. Arm yourself with the best information and pick the brains of the best people and get it right.
I’ve heard all the names of candidates for Head Coach. Robert Saleh, Eric Bienemy and so on. Terrific. Get me a GM first. I can’t stress it enough. We won’t get where we all want to be without a great one.
There is no curse. The Lions are not destined to lose. Whatever happened since their last championship or since their last playoff victory will not impact the next group that takes over in Allen Park. The Lions have the same opportunity as every team in this league to win. What happens next will dictate whether or not that happens.