New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia has been linked to the Detroit Lions all offseason as an option to be their next head coach. According to Pro Football Talk, the Patriots are expecting that marriage to take place.
“Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Patriots are bracing for defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to leave, most likely to become the next coach of the Detroit Lions,” Pro Football Talk reports.
The Lions have been extremely open with their desire to add a defensive-minded coach to lead the team, with five of their seven known head coaching candidates coming from the defensive side of the ball; the other two are their current offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
The expectation is for the new head coach to work alongside current offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who is considered one of the rising stars as an offensive playcaller. Patricia is competing with Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, and Packers assistant head coach and linebackers coach Winston Moss for the job.
Patricia is the favorite due to his relationship with Lions general manager and former Patriots exec Bob Quinn.
In Patricia’s six seasons as the Patriots defensive coordinator, New England has ranked in the top 10 in points allowed each season, despite ranking in the bottom eight in yards allowed three times. The Patriots allowed the fewest points in the NFL in 2016 and ranked fifth in 2017.
If Patricia leaves for Detroit, the Patriots are likely to promote linebackers coach Brian Flores to defensive coordinator. Flores has been with the Patriots since 2004 in various coaching and scouting capacities and has been the linebackers coach for the past two seasons.