Matt Patricia's disastrous season in Detroit once again shows teams interviewing Belichick assistants should proceed with caution

Alex Reimer
January 02, 2019 - 10:15 am

It is once again Interview Season in the NFL, which means several of the teams that fired their head coaches want to speak with Bill Belichick’s assistants. Unsurprisingly, Josh McDaniels has been connected to multiple clubs, showing his last-second decision to spur the Colts doesn’t appear to have any impact on his job prospects. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores is also expected to meet with four teams this weekend, including the Packers.

While McDaniels and Flores are their own people, the lousy track record of Belichick assistants hangs over them. Matt Patricia did little in his first season as the head man in Detroit to disabuse anybody of the notion that Patriots coordinators often struggle to duplicate their success away from Belichick. 

It does not look like Patricia will be fired, despite leading the Lions to a disappointing 6-10 campaign, which followed two straight 9-7 seasons under Jim Caldwell. Most of Patricia’s first season was marked with reports of organizational dissension, such as players complaining about draconian team rules and being forced to practice outside in the freezing cold ahead of four straight games that were held inside. Worst of all, Patricia didn’t seem to live up to his own expectations. The unkempt man who chastised a reporter for his sitting posture kept showing up late to meetings this season, according to an anonymous former Lions player

It must be hard to brow-beat players when you can’t even be punctual. 

The Lions did can offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, whose offense finished 25th in points per game this season. Matthew Stafford endured one of the worst years of his professional career, finishing with his worst QB rating since 2013. 

With former Patriots executive Bob Quinn in charge, Patricia will be given more time to work out his program. Apparently, those who weren’t on-board are now out the door. 

But Patricia's first season was an utter disaster from every angle, outside of the Lions’ upset victory over the Patriots in Week 3 –– much like the Broncos’ surprise win over the Patriots was one of their few highlights in McDaniels’ inaugural season in Denver. He was fired midway through the 2010 campaign. 

If things don’t improve in Detroit, Patricia could be on a similar path. With Belichick assistants, proceeding with caution continues to be the best tact.