By: Will Burchfield
In the pot of head coaching candidates that simmered over the past several weeks, Matt Patricia’s name was one of the hottest.
Three teams brought him in for an interview — the Lions, the Giants and the Cardinals — and there were more that requested the opportunity. Patricia, with his glittering resume as defensive coordinator of the Patriots, could have ended up any number of places, but in the end he chose Detroit.
His deep background with general manager Bob Quinn and his comfort with ownership.
Patricia and Quinn worked together for 12 years in the Patriots organization. They spent countless hours talking football in those days, and the two picked up right where they left off in Patricia’s first interview with the Lions in early January.
“I felt immediately when I walked in the room that things just started to click on the same level — ideas, philosophies, the way that you want an organization and a football team to be run,” Patricia said at his introductory news conference on Wednesday. “The mentality behind it was very similar.
“I know Bob’s and my working relationship is outstanding, has been outstanding previously, so there’s obviously no reason to think that it wouldn’t be that way moving forward. My comfort level with Bob was huge in all of this.”
Specifically, Patricia said that he and Quinn are of the same mind in terms of player evaluation and roster development.
“We believe in a lot of the same things as far as when you look at and evaluate players, how a team should be run, how it should be coached. … That’s what makes it such a great match for Bob and I to be in this situation (where) we can work together and try to put a team in place that we feel represents what we believe in and what we want the Detroit Lions to look like,” said Patricia.
But it was about more than being on the same page as the GM. Patricia also wanted to join an organization that would allow him a relationship with ownership. He craved a personal touch, something he grew accustomed to with Bob Kraft and the Patriots.
Not knowing much about the Ford Family when his contact with the Lions began, Patricia did some research. He talked with coaches and players around the league to get an idea of how things are run in Detroit. He came away encouraged.
This feeling was affirmed during the interview process. Patricia met with the Lions twice, once during the Patriots’ playoff bye and again before the Super Bowl.
“When you talk to different organizations you definitely get a different feel as far as the layers between maybe the head coach and ownership. I came from an organization (where) I was very close with the ownership, and that’s very important to me. Obviously to have an opportunity to do that here is extremely important, so that was a great kind of start,” Patricia said.
Patricia and his wife Raina have three young children, and he said they all felt embraced in his first day in the Lions organization. Based on what he’d learned about the Ford family, this wasn’t much of a surprise.
“Those are things that make you feel very comfortable,” said Patricia.
Now, it’s on to the work.
“I’m very much appreciative and thankful to be the head coach of the Detroit Lions,” Patricia said. “But I’m very excited and very much so ready to go.”