The Lions hired coach Matt Patricia earlier this year. Lions G.M. Bob Quinn apparently wanted to make the hire two years earlier.
“I had heard about Matt from Bob for two years before we had the chance to meet and as I think I told him recently, I think he undersold him, and he was selling him,” team president Rod Wood said at a Monday night even for season-ticket holders via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “So I think the relationship is strong, the language they speak, the trust. The ability I think to build the team through kind of one long-term vision of what we’re going to be about and this is probably the first time I’ve sat between them since they’ve been in town. They’re together all the time.”
After Quinn got the job in early 2016, he decided to keep coach Jim Caldwell. After Caldwell took the team to the playoffs in 2016, Caldwell got another year — along with an extension that didn’t provide Caldwell much financial security. After 2017, the time was right to make the move that Quinn likely wanted to make the moment he arrived.
Which, frankly, is how it should be. Every G.M. wants to hire his own coach. While an arranged marriage between G.M. and coach sometimes works, it usually doesn’t, with the G.M. simply waiting for the right moment to make the change. By waiting for two years to hire Patricia, the Lions delayed by two years the potential benefits of the things that Quinn and Patricia will be able to accomplish while working together, fully and completely on the same page.