The Browns have hired former Lions GM Bob Quinn as a Senior Consultant (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Quinn will act as a “sounding board” for GM Andrew Berry as he returns to football for the first time since November of last year.
Quinn, a longtime scout/exec for the Patriots, was hired as the Lions’ GM in January of 2016. After inheriting Jim Caldwell, he made his first official head-coaching hire in Matt Patricia.
The Lions fired Quinn and Patricia shortly after their blowout Thanksgiving loss. It was a trying year for the Lions — they missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season and had just dropped back-to-back games against the Panthers and Texans in embarrassing fashion. And, in the (almost) three years leading up to Quinn’s firing, they posted a 13-29-1 record.
Despite all of that, some believed that Quinn would still garner serious consideration in the early 2021 GM cycle. That didn’t happen, so he’ll spend the year with the Browns’ FO.
Two days after the Lions endured a Thanksgiving blowout loss, they are making major changes. The organization announced the firings of Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn on Saturday. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will take over as interim head coach, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This will be Bevell’s first HC 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 (via Twitter).
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.
When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.
A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.
Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:
Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989
Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991
Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000
MickeyLoomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006
Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010
Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011
Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019
Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020
Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.
It wouldn’t be a true NFL Draft if there wasn’t a bit of drama between two teams. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle tweets that Texans head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien was “furious” at the Lions for backing out of a trade.
According to McClain, the Texans “had a deal” to send the No. 90 pick to the Lions. Detroit ended up backing out at the “last instant,” and cameras caught O’Brien’s visible frustration. Houston ultimately kept the pick and settled for Florida linebacker Jonathan Greenard.
Predictably, Lions general manager BobQuinn has already said that he was never close to a trade with the Texans.
“Listen, we talk to a lot of teams,” Quinn told Kyle Meinke of MLive.com (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). “When we’re not on the clock, we talk to a bunch of teams, and it’s not just myself. We’ve got four or five people that make calls, so I’m not sure what that was about. But we didn’t have a trade.”
As Smith points out, Quinn and O’Brien were both on the Patriots staff between 2007 and 2011.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com writes that the NFL makes it abundantly clear that a trade isn’t finalized until it’s made official. Trade talks are currently made even tougher thanks to the unconventional draft setup.
February 16th, 2020 at 3:14pm CST by Marc Delucchi
Saints quarterback/athlete Taysom Hill has been the center of quite a bit of early offseason buzz. While the free-agent quarterback class is highlighted by the likes of Tom Brady and Drew Brees, a third-string quarterback, who threw just 14 passes last season, has dominated conversations. Hill has sparked a fervent debate around whether he has a future as a franchise quarterback, or is just a valuable weapon to deploy in certain packages. In an in-depth look at the situation, Katherine Terrell of The Athletic, dives into his circumstances and makes the case for Hill.
Here are some more quarterback notes from around the league:
Some early offseason murmurs suggested that Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford could be on the trade block. Detroit general manager Bob Quinn was quick to shoot down the reports. Of course, it would not be the first time a personnel official has denied a player’s availability before subsequently moving them. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press analyzes the decision from all angles to make the case in favor and against keeping Stafford.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports argues that the Buccaneers need to find a way to keep free-agent quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston, of course, became just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions (joining Vinny Testaverde). There’s no denying that Winston has had his flashes on the field, but a history of off-field issues and a historic propensity for turnovers make the decision far from straight forward.
December 17th, 2019 at 2:05pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
2019 has obviously been a very disappointing season for the Lions, but they aren’t going to be shaking things up too much this offseason. Both head coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn will return next season, owner Martha Ford told reporters on Tuesday. Patricia is in his second year as head coach after previously serving as New England’s defensive coordinator. Quinn has been the GM since 2016, and also came over from the Patriots.
Feb 28, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Ford also told reporters that the expectation is the Lions will compete for a playoff spot next year, essentially saying outright that a repeat performance won’t be tolerated. Ford also shot down rumors that the family was considering selling the team. All that being said, that doesn’t mean everybody is going to make it through. “Other staff changes are possible” still, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The defense has been a glaring weakness, and it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if defensive Paul Pasqualoni found himself out of a job at the end of the season.
In recent weeks there had been a lot of speculation about Patricia’s job status and talk that he could get fired, but he never seemed too worried and now we know why. It seems likely that Patricia and Quinn’s futures will now be tied together, and if one of them is given the boot after next season then they both will be. Detroit got off to a hot start this season with a 2-0-1 record, but things fell apart rapidly.
They came within a play of beating the Chiefs and moving to 3-0-1 the following week, but came up short. A one-point loss to the Packers followed, and then things spiraled out of control. All told, they’ve now lost ten of their last 11 games. They’ve suffered a rash of injuries, most notably to quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford has missed the past six games, and they’ve now gone from Jeff Driskel to undrafted rookie David Blough under center.
Clearly ownership believes the injuries were to blame for the disaster of a season, and they’ll get at least one more chance to run it back. Fortunately for Quinn and Patricia, they’ll have a high draft pick at their disposal. There was a local media report that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had interest in buying the Lions, but the franchise shot that down emphatically, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com.
“We’ve been approached about interest in buying the team, but there’s been no serious discussions,” team president Rod Wood said. “And the Ford family plans to own the team and there’s [succession] plans in place.” We heard last month that Bezos was interested in buying a team, but it apparently won’t be the Lions.
December 7th, 2019 at 9:41pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The Eric Ebron story took another twist this week, as his camp responded to the recent reports of disconnect between the tight end and the Colts. Soon after Ebron was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury, we heard that the Colts weren’t too happy with how everything played out. Indy’s head coach Frank Reich seemed to dispute Ebron’s account that the team was well-aware of his ankle issue, and said he had no idea anything was wrong. Ebron’s camp is now pushing back, with a source close to the UNC product telling Ian Rapoport of NFL Network that Reich “should not have been surprised” (Twitter link).
The source added that Ebron informed the Colts of his ankle issue prior to the season, and that he “took toradol shots for the injury before almost every game he played.” The implication from Indianapolis seemed to be that Ebron was essentially choosing to save himself for his impending free agency, and his camp obviously isn’t pleased with that narrative. As Stephen Holder of The Athletic summarizes in a tweet, this means that Reich is either “blatantly lying when he said he was blind sided,” or Ebron “was able to practice most of the season on a terribly painful ankle.” It’ll be interesting to see if this under the radar controversy impacts Ebron’s market this spring. The tenth overall pick of the 2014 draft had a huge first year in Indy, but had been a bit of a disappointment this season before going on IR. Given the sudden animosity between the two sides, it seems likely that he isn’t back with the Colts in 2020.
Here’s more from around the league on a quiet Saturday night:
It doesn’t look like Matthew Stafford is going to play for the Lions again in 2019, so his back injury is obviously legitimate. However, the league has taken issue with how Detroit went about reporting it. Stafford was a surprise scratch late in the week leading up to the team’s game against the Bears back on November 10th, and the league has determined the team was trying to gain a competitive advantage by being coy with the info. The league office has fined the organization $75K, head coach Matt Patricia $25K, and GM Bob Quinn $10K, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).
When Raiders rookie receiver Hunter Renfrow went down with a rib injury and a punctured lung a couple of weeks ago, it initially looked like he’d miss the rest of the season. However, that might not be the case, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports. Renfrow hasn’t been placed on IR, and the team is holding out hope he’ll be able to return toward the end of the year. “We’re hopeful that he could return for the last game or two,” Oakland head coach Jon Gruden said, per Bair. Renfrow had really started to heat up before going down, so he would provide a big boost. The Raiders have gotten blown out in two straight games, but are still right in the thick of a very muddled AFC wildcard race at 6-6. Whether or not they’re still in the hunt for a playoff spot in the final week or two will likely determine whether or not they bring the Clemson product back.
The Lions suffered a bad loss to the now 2-9 Redskins on Sunday, which has led to a great deal of speculation as to the future of the organization’s leaders. Here’s the latest from the Motor City:
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports suggested that “there could be some changes afoot” if the Lions do not have a strong performance against the division-rival Bears on Thanksgiving (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). La Canfora made those remarks during the CBS Postgame Show and did not elaborate, but it seems that a shakeup to head coach Matt Patricia‘s staff could be in the cards, even if Patricia himself is safe at least until the end of the 2019 season.
Speaking of Patricia, the second-year HC was oddly evasive when asked who was calling the defensive plays against the Redskins, as Birkett writes in a full-length piece. It appeared that Patricia was calling the plays, and though he gave defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni a vote of confidence as a play-caller last month, the head coach himself appears to have taken the reins and is simply trying to refrain from confirming that publicly. In any event, the defense — which has Patricia’s fingerprints all over it — ranks near the bottom of the league in most major categories, and that’s not a good omen for Patricia’s future.
The club may not fire the former Patriots DC during the season, as his players still seem to play hard for him and the roster has been hit hard by injury, but as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes, Lions ownership has to consider all options this offseason. The team could fire Patricia, GM Bob Quinn, or both, as neither man has done much to inspire confidence that they are the right people to lead the Lions on a long-term basis.
Speculatively, given Pasqualoni’s apparently diminished role, the changes that La Canfora references above could mean that Pasqualoni is shown the door if the Lions fail to perform well against Chicago.
Some teams use the franchise tag to buy some time to negotiate with their players on a long-term deal. That doesn’t appear to be the case in Detroit with Ezekiel Ansah. Appearing on PFT Live, general manager Bob Quinn alluded to taking a wait-and-see approach with the fifth-year defensive end.
“We’re hoping he stays healthy, has a productive year and we go from there,” Quinn said.
Quinn said it is about new head coach Matt Patricia being able to get to know Ansah through the off-season program before the team makes a decision about a long-term deal. The fact that Ansah has been inconsistent early in his career — sandwiching a pair of double-digit sack seasons in 2015 and 2017 with a two-sack campaign in 2016 — also surely factors into the decision to wait.
Though he wants Patricia to become familiar with the defensive end through the offseason program, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio also writes Ansah isn’t likely to attend the offseason program with a long-term deal.
The 2015 Pro Bowl selection has until July 16 to sign his franchise tender, which will pay him an expected $17.14MM.
February 9th, 2018 at 11:59am CST by Zachary Links
The Lions made a big change on the sidelines this year, but they’re going to maintain stability in the front office. On Friday, the Lions announced an extension for GM Bob Quinn.
“The contract extension for Bob is most deserving as he continues to lead and improve our football team,” team president Rod Wood said in a press release. “It is also important for our entire organization to ensure stability as we move forward with Matt as our new head coach working in partnership with Bob. Moreover, I greatly enjoy my relationship and partnership with Bob. We both look forward to a bright future for the Detroit Lions.”
The team did not disclose the exact terms of the deal, though the announcement says that “the extension matches the term of head coach MattPatricia’s new deal with the team.” It is believed that Patricia’s deal goes through the 2022 season, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). This through-2022 timeline matches Matthew Stafford‘s extension as well.
Quinn, a longtime scout/exec for the Patriots, was hired as the Lions’ GM in January of 2016. He made his first official head-coaching hire this week in appointing Patricia to the post. Predecessor Martin Mayhew hired Jim Caldwell, with whom Quinn worked for two seasons before firing him after the 2017 campaign, but the Quinn/Patricia partnership will be the biggest chance yet to gauge the current exec’s imprint on the franchise.
The Lions now have their quarterback, HC and GM in place for the long haul and will begin work on crafting a strategy aimed at ending a lengthy drought. Detroit’s most recent playoff win came in Barry Sanders‘ third season, 1991. Caldwell’s teams twice made the playoffs, with the 2014 Lions’ effort in Dallas coming closer to victory than the ’16 version did in Seattle, but postseason advancement has eluded the franchise for a generation.