The NFL season is a great distance off, however that is not stopping Yardbarker’s Chris Mueller, Sam Robinson and Michael Nania from figuring out coaches on the most well liked seats.
Matt Patricia, Lions
MUELLER: Two years into his tenure as Detroit Lions head coach, Matt Patricia appears to be like rather more like one other failed department of the Invoice Belichick teaching tree than certainly one of its successes. Patricia is 9-22-1 with the Lions, and whereas a lot of final season’s dismal file might be pinned on quarterback Matt Stafford’s damage — Detroit misplaced all eight video games he missed — the staff was simply 3-4-1 whereas he was wholesome and productive.
Patricia’s calling card was protection: The Patriots completed no worse than 10th in factors allowed in every of his six seasons as defensive coordinator. He hasn’t taken it with him to Detroit. The Lions had been 16th in factors allowed in 2018 and 26th final season. Detroit has funneled loads of assets to that facet of the ball, too, significantly this offseason. Common supervisor Bob Quinn drafted Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah with the third general decide after which nabbed Notre Dame edge rusher Julian Okwara with the 67th choice.
Detroit has additional catered to Patricia’s facet of the ball in free company, reuniting him with a few of his former Patriots gamers in defensive finish Trey Flowers, linebacker Jamie Collins and defensive deal with Danny Shelton. Flowers signed in 2019, and Collins and Shelton got here aboard this offseason. The mixed worth of their contracts is $128 million, $78 million of which is assured. Patricia has the assets, and now it’s time for him to get outcomes. Ex-Patriot security Duron Harmon came visiting by way of commerce as effectively.
What stays to be seen is whether or not Patricia will get probably the most out of these new additions and win huge. The a part of the equation he can’t management — Stafford’s well being — occurs to be the most important key to Detroit’s success. Nevertheless, whereas proprietor Martha Firestone Ford didn’t fairly lay down a “playoffs or bust” mandate for 2020, Detroit must clarify that Patricia should make decisive steps ahead in his third season for him to maintain his job. A part of that equation requires Patricia’s gamers to truly wish to go to battle for him. Lately traded cornerback Darius Slay ripped Patricia for a coaching camp incident in 2018, and security Glover Quin, who was launched by the staff after the 2018 season, additionally questioned Patricia’s capability to guide. GM Quinn, although, has made it clear that he has no worries about Patricia’s management means, however the remainder of the league will likely be looking ahead to indicators of friction.
Detroit can contend within the NFC North, as Chicago, Inexperienced Bay and Minnesota are usually not insurmountable opponents. The Bears have main quarterback points, the Packers made the league’s most controversial draft selection once they chosen Utah State’s Jordan Love, and whereas the Vikings seem to have probably the most balanced roster within the division, they aren’t a juggernaut.
A wholesome Stafford could be the most effective quarterback within the division, and pairing him with a retooled, refocused protection may very well be a recipe for achievement; possibly even a worst-to-first turnaround. If Patricia can’t reap the benefits of the franchise’s efforts to construct the form of staff he desires, he’ll be searching for work sooner moderately than later, and deservedly so.