Two days after the Lions endured a Thanksgiving blowout loss, they are making major changes. The organization announced the firings of Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn on Saturday. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will take over as interim head coach, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. This will be Bevell’s first head coaching opportunity.
This move is certainly not unexpected, with the Lions on track to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Ownership gave Quinn and Patricia a playoffs-or-bust-themed directive for 2020. After being routed by the Panthers and Texans over the past two weeks, the Lions are well off course.
Patricia’s ouster marks a second former Bill Belichick assistant to be fired in-season. Patricia coached against interim Texans HC Romeo Crennel on Thursday, doing so weeks after Houston canned Bill O’Brien. Patricia did not come especially close to achieving the kind of success O’Brien did and will not finish his third season. The former Patriots DC’s Lions tenure will wrap with a 13-29-1 record.
Quinn determined Jim Caldwell‘s back-to-back 9-7 seasons were not worthy of a fifth year, leading to the former Pats executive bringing in his former coworker. Although the Lions’ swoon last season could be attributed to Matthew Stafford‘s midseason injury, they have no such excuse this year. Stafford has started throughout, and the Lions will enter Week 13 at 4-7. Since Patricia’s hire, the Lions have blown an NFL-most 18 fourth-quarter leads, as Ed Werder of ESPN.com notes.
While Caldwell’s Lions could not build on their 11-5 2014 season, Patricia’s teams did not come close to a worthwhile follow-up effort. The longtime NFL defensive coach has seen his third Detroit defense drop to 30th in points allowed. The regression was not especially steep, with the Lions ranking 28th in defensive DVOA in 2018 and ’19.
Quinn’s firing makes for an interesting NFL GM landscape. Three jobs — in Atlanta, Detroit and Houston — are available before December. Quinn took over for Martin Mayhew in 2016; the Lions did not win 10 games in a season during his tenure.