(97.1 The Ticket) What looked like a foregone conclusion just a couple days ago has since become anybody’s guess.
Who will be the Lions’ next head coach?
Matt Patricia was reportedly the guy as recently as Sunday night, but on Wednesday it was reported that the Giants have the inside track on the Patriots defensive coordinator. Per Sports Illustrated, “Patricia favors the Giants.”
Should the Lions miss out on Patricia, it’s believed they’ll turn to Mike Vrabel. The Texans defensive coordinator interviewed with the Lions last week, and came with rave reviews.
But there’s a third name to keep an eye on: Pat Shurmur.
The Vikings offensive coordinator is still “very much in the mix” for the Lions’ head coaching job, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Shurmur, who interviewed with the Lions a day after Vrabel, is also being considered for head coaching vacancies with the Cardinals and the Giants.
In Shurmur’s first full season running Minnesota’s offense, the Vikings finished 10th in points per game and 11th in yards per game. Though the Lions have interviewed mostly defensive coaches, general manager Bob Quinn said from the start of the search he doesn’t have a preference when it comes to a coach’s background.
Shurmur, for what it’s worth, has strong Michigan ties. He grew up in Dearborn and later attended Michigan State, where he was a four-year letterman from 1983-1987. He got his coaching start with the Spartans and remained with the team through 1997. He entered the NFL in 1999 as a tight ends/offensive line coach for the Eagles.
Shurmur was the head coach of the Browns from 2011-2012, compiling a record of 10-22, and served as the Eagles’ interim head coach for one game in the 2014 season.
Since firing Jim Caldwell last Monday, the Lions have also interviewed Packers associate head coach Winston Moss as well as two in-house candidates in offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and former defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
Austin has since left to become the Bengals’ defensive coordinator, and it’s believed the Lions plan on keeping Cooter in his current position.