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Patriots DC Matt Patricia, not OC Josh McDaniels, is favorite for Lions head coaching job

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Both of the Patriots coordinators could be head coaches in 2017.

It’s not a secret that the New England Patriots coordinators are highly coveted by teams that are looking for head coaches. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will probably be on top of most lists this offseason, including both teams in this Thursday Night match-up between the Titans and the Jaguars.

But defensive coordinator Matt Patricia might be the favorite for another team.

“Talk of [Lions head coach] Jim Caldwell being replaced as head coach has quieted since the team has put together a three-game winning streak,” ESPN’s Chris Mortensen notes, “but even if he is [replaced], most league executives believe Lions general manager Bob Quinn probably would consider Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia over Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel as the replacement.”

Mortensen cites Detroit’s desire to keep OC Jim Bob Cooter around QB Matt Stafford, who has been playing like a top five quarterback since Cooter took over the offense halfway through the 2015 season.

Quinn, the former director of pro scouting for the Patriots, has a connection to both McDaniels and Patricia, but if he wants to keep the offense together then bringing in a defensive-minded head coach might allow the Cooter/Stafford ticket to continue to grow. Stafford is just 28 years old and Cooter is 32 years old. This is a connection that could bear fruit for the next decade.

What’s interesting is that the Lions current DC Teryl Austin was the hot ticket for head coaching jobs last offseason. If Austin leaves, then Patricia could be in a place to create his own defensive powerhouse.