All signs point toward Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia becoming the next head coach of the Lions, and the Free Press reported on Wednesday that it’s a “done deal.”
The hire can’t be made official until the Patriots’ season is over; they host the Jaguars on Sunday in the AFC championship game.
The Lions interviewed six coaches in the search for Jim Caldwell’s replacement, with Patricia being the last. They’ve since told the other candidates to move on, according to Albert Breer, because Patricia is their guy.
If the Patriots win on Sunday, the Lions can meet with him again at some point in the ensuing week. If they lose, Patricia can be hired immediately. The Lions would introduce him shortly thereafter.
The Patriots have had one of the best scoring defenses in the NFL in each of Patricia’s six seasons as defensive coordinator. They finished fifth this year, even after a woeful start.
Patriots beat writer Jim McBride of the Boston Globe told 97.1 The Ticket that Patricia’s ability to adjust on the fly is one of the reasons he’d make a great head coach.
“It’s the way he’s able to turn things around pretty quickly. … He was able to find a way to kind of gel those guys and work out the communication issues that they all pointed to as the biggest problem,” said McBride.
Patricia also interviewed with the Giants and the Cardinals, both of whom still have head coaching vacancies, and Sports Illustrated reported last week that Patricia favored the Giants over the Lions. But the Giants have reportedly settled on Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, while the Cardinals look to be moving in a different direction as well.
All that’s left for Patricia to do is sign the dotted line with the Lions.