When former Patriots executive Bob Quinn became the G.M. of the Lions two years ago, speculation emerged instantly that he’d try to hire someone from New England’s coaching staff to take over the team. But Quinn, after an extended period of consideration, decided to stick with Jim Caldwelll.
Two years, and one Rextension later, Quinn apparently will be getting a chance to hire his own coach. Via Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, that coach could be Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
Rapoport says that the Lions “will look hard” at Patricia, a widely respected defensive mind who has learned the gig by working with Bill Belichick since 2004. Since 2012, Patricia has coordinated the defense.
But it’s not all about Xs and Os or being able to thrive in the fundamentally different position of head coach. The “hard look” at Patricia undoubtedly will look into whether Commissioner Roger Goodell remains upset about Patricia’s decision to exit the plane after Super Bowl 51 wearing the Barstool T-shirt with an image of Goodell sporting a clown nose.
The ultimate question is whether Goodell would try, directly or indirectly, to steer Quinn away from Patricia. Sure, Goodell would probably never mention the clown-nose T-shirt. But there are ways to make a point without being obvious, and Quinn will need to be listening for any clues that would indicate whether a decision to replace Patricia’s turquoise blue T-shirt with a Honolulu blue hoodie would be frowned upon by the man who has guaranteed employment through 2022.