By: Will Burchfield
The Lions’ head-coaching search is effectively over.
Per multiple reports, the team is ready to hire Patriots defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia.
NFL insider Michael Lombardi reported on Monday morning, “Hearing the Lions get their coach in the next day or so. Won’t be a surprise either.”
The Lions can’t officially hire Patricia until the Patriots’ season ends. New England hosts Tennessee in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs Saturday night.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn and president Rod Wood interviewed Patricia at the Patriots’ headquarters on Friday. Quinn worked with Patricia for 12 years in New England’s organization.
Asked about his relationship with Quinn in a teleconference on Monday, Patricia said, via the Free Press, “I have relationships with guys throughout the entire league and I obviously like to maintain my relationships to the best of their ability. But really right now my focus is on Tennessee and just trying to get ready for what we have in front of us.”
Patricia, who’s led one of the NFL’s best scoring defenses each of the past six seasons, also interviewed with the Giants and the Cardinals.
“That was a process that took place through the course of a couple days there on the weekend, or a day on the weekend,” Patricia said. “It’s always a learning experience, like when I’ve been through it before. You have the opportunity to learn about some other franchises and get a chance to talk about how they do things and really just kind of broaden your whole overall education of what the NFL and the different organizations are.
“So it’s always a very informative process and it’s interesting when you go through it. The good part about it is when it’s done, then you really kind of just flip your focus back to the task at hand.”
Some questions linger over Patricia’s ability to become the face of a franchise, but apparently the Lions got the answers they needed. Patricia was their leading candidate from the start, and he looks to have beat out the likes of Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Packers associate head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss and Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel.
The Lions also interviewed two in-house candidates in offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
There was some speculation over the weekend that the Lions could lure Bill Belichick to Detroit, but it was never substantiated. Belichick told reporters on Monday he “absolutely” intends to coach the Patriots next season.