The Lions have begun their GM search, interviewing Louis Riddick, Thomas Dimitroff, Scott Pioli and multiple internal candidates. One name has also surfaced in connection with the Detroit HC job.
49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh resides atop the Lions’ list of HC candidates, according to ProFootballNetwork.com’s Tony Pauline. They will likely have competition for the fourth-year 49ers defensive play-caller.
Saleh grew up in Michigan and went to college in the state, and these connections prompted dozens of Michigan lawmakers to pen a letter to Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp urging her to hire the 49ers assistant to replace Patricia. The team appears to have already been monitoring Saleh, who emerged on the HC radar after the 2019 49ers’ rise to Super Bowl LIV.
While a healthier 49ers defense finished second in DVOA last season, Saleh has managed to keep this year’s injury-ravaged unit in the top five in total defense. The 49ers rank fifth in yards allowed going into their Week 15 game, despite missing Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman and several others for significant parts of the season.
Saleh, 41, has been connected to bringing 49ers VP of player personnel Adam Peters with him — should he land a coaching job in 2021. The Lions are open to using a 49ers-style setup where they hire the head coach before signing off on a GM as well, and Pauline adds the team is prepared to pair Saleh with a GM with whom he is comfortable.