When Matt Patricia was hired to replace Jim Caldwell as head coach of the Detroit Lions, we all believed we were getting a defensive guru. After all, we had been told time and time again during Patricia’s time with the New England Patriots that he was a genius when it came to running a defense.
Well, we are now nearly complete with the 2019 season and the Lions defense has not come close to living up to expectations.
Though Paul Pasqualoni is technically the Lions’ defensive coordinator and is technically making the defensive play calls during games, anyone with a brain knows that Patricia has more than a hand in the cookie jar when it comes to the defensive game plan.
Now, personally, I believe that both Patricia and Lions GM Bob Quinn are safe for at least one more season, but if the Lions were to lose their final 3 games, a change certainly could be made.
Here are 5 candidates who could replace Patricia if he is fired.
Note: All 5 of the candidates listed below are offensive-minded as it would be surprising if the Lions brought in another defensive coach in an offensive league. In fact, that is the reason why I was against hiring Patricia in the first place.
Josh McDaniels – (OC) New England Patriots
Let’s lead off with the candidate I hoped and prayed the Lions would hire after they fired Jim Caldwell and that is New England Patriots offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels.
Now, many of you are going to rip this idea because you are sick of the whole ‘be like the Patriots’ mentality, but hear me out.
First of all, of Patricia and McDaniels, I always believed McDaniels would be the better hire and though it cannot be proven at this time, I am sticking to that belief.
Most believe McDaniels is waiting for his chance to take over as head coach of the Patriots when Bill Belichick retires, but with Tom Brady’s career also nearing an end, coming to Detroit to coach Matthew Stafford may be something he cannot pass up.
Kellen Moore – (OC) Dallas Cowboys
If McDaniels is No. 1 on my list, former Detroit Lions backup quarterback Kellen Moore is No. 1A.
Moore may look like he is in middle school but his football mind rivals the best in the NFL.
So far this season, according to DVOA advanced statistics, the Dallas Cowboys have the No. 2 offense in the entire NFL behind only the Baltimore Ravens.
If Cowboys owner Jerry Jones decides to fire current head coach Jason Garrett, you can bet he will offer the world to Moore. But if Garrett ends up getting the Cowboys to the playoffs, he may get another year and the Lions may be able to sneak in and steal Moore.
Eric Bieniemy – (OC) Kansas City Chiefs
When you think of the Kansas City Chiefs, you think of their amazing offense. Well, the offensive coordinator of that offense just so happens to be Eric Bieniemy.
We all know that Patrick Mahomes has emerged as one of the best (if not THE best) quarterbacks in the league and a lot of his success goes straight back to his working with Bieniemy.
I truly believe Bienemy is going to be a good coach someday and it would be a big mistake for the Lions to pass on him if McDaniels or Moore is not available for the taking.
Shane Waldron – (Passing Game Coordinator) Los Angeles Rams
After tearing up the league in 2018, just about every single person who ever made contact with Los Angeles Rams head coach/offensive guru Sean McVay immediately became a hot name in the coaching business.
One of those hot names is Shane Waldron, who is the passing game coordinator for the Rams.
Though the Rams offense has taken a BIG step back this season and he is a bit further down my list, you can bet Waldron will be a guy who gets some looks when it comes to teams looking to hire a new head coach.
Greg Roman – (OC) Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens offense has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the NFL this season and that is largely due to what offensive coordinator Greg Roman has been able to do with quarterback Lamar Jackson and company.
Now, it is important to note that Matthew Stafford is no Lamar Jackson, so Roman would not be able to do the same things, but he is smart enough to take advantage of Stafford’s strengths, similar to what current Lions OC Darrell Bevell has done.
Once again, Roman would not be my first choice to replace Patricia but you can bet he will get some looks this coming offseason.
So, Nation, which of these 5 candidates would you prefer? Or, do you have somebody else in mind?