Matt Patricia

Latest On Lions’ Head Coaching Search

We’ve been hearing for several weeks that the Lions are set to make Matt Patricia their next head coach, and a report tonight from Albert Breer backs this sentiment. Breer tweets that the Lions have been informing other candidates that they’ve been eliminated from contention for the gig, and the organization is moving forward with the assumption that Patricia will be their head coach once the Patriots’ season ends.

Matt PatriciaDespite rumblings that Patricia had more interest in the Giants head coaching gig, reports from this morning indicated that Patricia would ultimately accept the Lions job. There have been whispers that Patricia would land in Detroit since the beginning of January, and there were even rumors that he could take the Lions job before the team fired former coach Jim Caldwell.

The Patriots defensive coordinator seems to be a natural fit for the Lions, especially when you consider his relationship with general manager Bob Quinn (who previously worked in New England). After working his way up through the Patriots coaching staff, Patricia was named defensive coordinator back in 2012. In six seasons in the role, the Patriots’ defense has never ranked lower than tenth in points allowed.

Our Head Coaching Tracker shows that Patricia was only one of many candidates to be interviewed by the Lions. The organization also reached out to 2017 coordinators Teryl Austin and Jim Bob Cooter, Packers assistant head coach Winston Moss, Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, and Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel.

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Matt Patricia Expected To Become Lions’ HC

This sounds familiar. Although Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was said to prefer the Giants’ head coaching job to the Lions’, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets that Patricia is expected to become the Lions’ next head coach, as we heard last week.

Matt Patricia

Patricia, whose defense was quite impressive in New England’s win over the Titans last night, has been a hot head coaching candidate for several years now thanks to his overall body of work with the Pats. Even before the Lions parted ways with former head coach Jim Caldwell, there were plenty of reports linking Patricia to Detroit, as he has a preexisting relationship with Lions GM Bob Quinn stemming from Quinn’s tenure with the Patriots.

And on January 6, it was reported that the Lions would indeed hire Patricia. Just several days later, however, Peter King of TheMMQB.com indicated that Patricia preferred the Giants to the Lions, which threw something of a wrench into this season’s coaching carousel. But Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that his understanding all along has been that Patricia would accept the Lions’ job. Indeed, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes, Detroit would have moved on to other candidates if it did not believe Patricia was coming to the Motor City.

Of course, as New England’s season is not yet over, the Lions and Patricia will have to wait to make things official. Birkett adds (via Twitter) that Patricia is likely to retain Detroit’s incumbent offensive coordinator, Jim Bob Cooter.

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Coaching Rumors: Flores, Giants, Bears

Although finalists have emerged in the Giants and Colts’ HC searches, the Cardinals may be taking a more methodical approach. And despite Brian Flores lacking the coordinator experience others in the mix for the Arizona job do, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets the Patriots’ linebackers coach is very much a live candidate for the job. The Cardinals have interviewed Flores, incumbent DC James Bettcher, Pats DC Matt Patricia, Eagles DC Jim Schwartz, Vikings OC Pat Shurmur, Panthers DC Steve Wilks, Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak and Falcons ST coordinator Keith Armstrong. This franchise has cast the widest net yet in this year’s coaching carousel, so determining frontrunner status is a bit more complicated here than it is in the three other searches. Patricia’s name has been linked as a finalist with the Lions and Giants, however.

Here’s the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • With four HC vacancies remaining and the Giants reportedly identifying three finalists — Patricia, Shurmur and Josh McDaniels — the franchise might need a sleeper candidate if the aforementioned trio each takes a job elsewhere, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes the thinking is Schwartz is that mystery choice. The Giants requested an interview with the former Lions coach, but the sides couldn’t get one scheduled.
  • Patricia doesn’t plan on letting it slip which way he’s leaning until after the Patriots‘ season concludes, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets (video link). The Patriots returning to the Super Bowl could put the Giants and Lions to difficult decisions, if Patricia indeed does not decide until season’s end. Rapoport speculates the Lions as perhaps a slight favorite here. The Lions may be going all-in on Patricia, Florio writes, to the point it’s unclear whom Detroit would tab if Patricia chose the Giants.
  • Chris Tabor will return to the Bears as their special teams coordinator, the team announced. Tabor coached the Browns’ ST units for the past seven seasons but prior to that served as Chicago’s assistant ST coordinator from 2008-10. Tabor made it through four coaching regimes in Cleveland, remaining on staff through the Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, Mike Pettine and Hue Jackson runs.
  • Brock Olivo‘s first crack as a special teams coordinator did not go well, with the Broncos firing him after one season. But the Browns interviewed Olivo for the ST job open after the team let Tabor leave, Mike Klis of 9News tweets.
  • The Bears will hire Kevin Gilbride Jr. to coach their tight ends. The 39-year-old son of the retired OC, Gilbride coached under his father from 2010-13 and stayed on as Giants tight ends coach the past four seasons.

Latest On The Giants’ HC Search

The Giants have interviewed six candidates for their vacant head coach position and could start to be moving more quickly on completing their search in the next week. Of the six coaches they’ve interviewed, it appears that Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Patriots’ coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are the favorites to land the position, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Pat Shurmur (vertical)

All three candidates have garnered interest from around football and should either the Patriots or Vikings be eliminated from the playoffs this weekend, Vacchiano thinks that the “Giants could have a new coach in place by next week”. If both teams take care of business at home in the Divisional Round, the process will likely extend another two weeks as the Giants management tries to figure out a way to get one last meeting with their top choice, whoever that may be.

Shurmur and McDaniels look like natural fits for the job as they have an offensive background and previous head coaching experience. The team has been rumored to want experience in whoever they hire and could also want someone who has the ability to get the most out of a young quarterback, should they choose to draft either Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen with the number two overall selection in April’s draft. However, Patricia clearly impressed in his initial interview enough to have the Giants move away from their original checklist.

In a wrinkle to Vacchiano’s story, there could be another sleeper candidate lurking behind the scenes, reports Tom Rock and Bob Glauber of Newsday. A source told the writers that should all three candidates land other positions with the likes of Arizona, Detroit and Indianapolis, the team has a backup plan. While no names were given for who that prospective fourth coach could be, Rock and Glauber speculated that defensive coordinators Steve Wilks and Jim Schwartz could be options as well as Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, who was passed over for the Bears head coaching gig.

New York has officially interviewed McDaniels, Patricia, Shurmur, Wilks, Steve Spagnuolo and Eric Studesville. They could also eventually interview Schwartz, even though his previously scheduled interview has been put on hold.

 

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Steve Wilks No Longer In Running For Giants’ Job?

The full assortment of Giants decision-makers only attended the Steve Wilks HC interview earlier this week, with co-owner Steve Tisch joining Big Blue brass in meeting with the Panthers’ DC. But Wilks may have to concentrate on other options going forward.

The Giants are believed to be down to three finalists for their top coaching job: Vikings OC Pat Shurmur and Patriots coordinators Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels. Wilks did not make the cut after the first round of meetings, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reports.

Each of these coaches are preparing for divisional-round games, so the Giants look to be willing to wait to make their hire. Patricia is said to prefer the Giants to the Lions, who were once reported to have zeroed in on Patricia as the favorite to land their job. McDaniels might be a better bet to become the next Colts coach as well; he interviewed for both Indianapolis and New York’s HC vacancies. The Cardinals are also in on Shurmur.

An unofficial agreement could be reached between the Giants and one of these candidates, a la the 49ers’ process with Kyle Shanahan, but New York must wait until the Vikings or Patriots is eliminated to make an official hire.

Schwartz notes the Giants believe McDaniels would work well with their next quarterback, or with Eli Manning, and the team may view Shurmur as the most well-rounded candidate. The New York-based reporter adds the Giants are also concerned McDaniels might still not be ready, considering what happened the first time he was a head coach, and might not be comfortable with a strong GM presence. The Giants are also unsure, per Schwartz, Patricia brings the “CEO-type” leadership Dave Gettleman covets in an HC.

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Matt Patricia Prefers Giants To Lions

The Patriots are bracing for Matt Patricia to leave, but it might not be for the Lions’ head coaching job. The defensive guru is also up for the Giants’ job and he prefers the G-Men to the Lions, Peter King of The MMQB hears. Matt Patricia (vertical)

[RELATED: PFR’s 2018 Head Coaching Search Tracker]

If Patricia is offered the Giants’ head coaching position and accepts, it will have a domino effect reaching Detroit and beyond. If Patricia goes to the Giants, the Lions may pivot to Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, King hears. If that happens, Vrabel would be out of the running for the Colts’ HC job.

The Giants were abysmal in 2017, but they have lots of talent to work with on defense including cornerback Janoris Jenkins and defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. If Patricia can get underperforming youngsters like Eli Apple on the right track, the Giants could return to having one of the better defensive units in the NFL. The Giants also have the No. 2 overall pick at their disposal, so Patricia’s preference towards New York is understandable.

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Lions Likely To Hire Matt Patricia

It sounds like Matt Patricia is ready to leave the nest. The Patriots are bracing for their defensive coordinator to leave, most likely to become the next head coach of the Lions, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Mike Florio of PFT.

As shown in PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker, Patricia is up for three jobs with the Lions, Cardinals, and Giants all showing interest. If the Lions are indeed hiring him, they’ll have to wait until the Patriots’ season is officially over to put pen to paper. However, they could reach a handshake agreement with him before that point.

Patricia has been praised for his defensive acumen and his pre-existing relationship with GM Bob Quinn gives him an advantage over others who are up for the job. If Patricia is the hire in Detroit, it will have a ripple effect across the league and possibly displace incumbent coordinators Jim Bob Cooter (offense) and Teryl Austin (defense). Both Austin and Cooter met with the team about a potential promotion to HC.

The Patriots’ postseason gets underway next Saturday in the divisional round.

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NFC Coaching Notes: Nagy, Cowboys, Cards

As the wild-card round looms, here’s the latest from the NFC side of the coaching carousel.

  • Chiefs OC Matt Nagy will have a quick turnaround after Saturday’s first-round game. He’s set for interviews with the Bears and Colts on Sunday for those franchises’ respective HC jobs, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. These are the only two teams to which the 39-year-old OC has been connected. He’s finishing out his second season as Kansas City’s OC. Doug Pederson served in that role for three seasons prior to leaving for Philadelphia.
  • The Cardinals have cast a wide net in their search to replace Bruce Arians, and they are meeting with two members of the Patriots’ defensive staff today. DC Matt Patricia and linebackers coach Brian Flores are meeting with Cards representatives in New England, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). While Flores has only been linked to the Cardinals, Patricia is a candidate for the Giants’ and Lions’ HC jobs.
  • The Cowboys continue to make staff changes as the week winds down. After QBs coach Wade Wilson and secondary coach Joe Baker were dismissed earlier this week, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reports (on Twitter) the team is now moving on from wide receivers coach Derek Dooley and tight ends coach Steve Loney. While coordinators Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli are expected to be back in 2018, many position coaching vacancies exist in Dallas.
  • With Joe Philbin reported to be heading back to Green Bay, he will be set to oversee new Packers wide receivers coach Jim Hostler. Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets Hostler will move from the position of Colts wideouts coach to the same job with the Packers, and if the Philbin hire ends up happening, both coaches will be moving from Indianapolis to Green Bay. Hostler’s most notable NFL job came in 2007 when he was the 49ers’ OC.

Giants Interview Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia

Apart from all the Patriots drama unfolding today, both of their coordinators, Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, have completed their scheduled interviews with the Giants. The team announced that they had interviewed Patricia earlier in the day, but McDaniels had finished his conversation with the team this afternoon, according to James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link). Palmer adds that the group who interviewed McDaniels consisted of team owner John Mara, general manager Dave Gettleman and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams.

Matt Patricia (vertical)

Patricia and McDaniels are now the second and third head coaching candidates to be interviewed by the organization. Current interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo spoke to the Giants about their head coach vacancy on Wednesday. However, it should be noted that McDaniels is the first offensive head coach that has been interviewed in the team’s search. New York hasn’t flat out mentioned that they rather go in a certain direction, but there has been chatter that they want someone who has experience in the head coach role, which McDaniels certainly has from his time in Denver. Although, Patricia does not have head coaching experience and the team clearly still has interest in him, so that may not ultimately be a deciding factor.

Meanwhile, the Giants are far from done speaking with prospective candidates. They have also requested to interview Jim Schwartz (Eagles DC), Pat Shurmur (Vikings OC), Steve Wilks (Panthers DC) and Eric Studesville (former Broncos assistant HC).

 

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Extra Points: Broncos, Talib, Jaguars, Lee

Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib wants to finish his career with the Broncos, but he also knows that a return might not be in the cards.

If I wasn’t [returning], it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing in the world,” Talib said on Denver’s Altitude 950 (transcription via Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post). “You have three corners making big money and that’s rare to have. I had conversations with our staff during our exit meetings and stuff, so it’s kind of up in the air. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m still here. Just put it like this: I had good conversations with [head coach] Vance [Joseph], with [defensive coordinator] Joe Woods. I mean, things change. But there’s a chance I will be back.”

Talib, 31, has two years left on the five-year deal he signed with the Broncos in 2014. He’s slated to carry a cap hit of $12MM in 2018, but the team can release him and carry just $1MM in dead money. If Talib wants to stay in Denver, he’ll probably have to take a pay cut to make it happen. The Broncos can’t afford to squander any of their cap room, particularly with Bradley Roby’s salary increasing from ~$1MM to $8.5MM next season.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee did not practice on Wednesday and may not practice this week. However, the belief is that he will be able to take the field against the Bills this weekend, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Lee had the most receptions of any Jags receiver this year (56) and finished second in receiving yards (702). If Lee cannot go, Jacksonville will have to lean a bit more heavily on Allen Hurns, Dede Westbrook, and Keelan Cole.
  • Meanwhile, Titans running back DeMarco Murray has been ruled out of Saturday’s Wild Card game against the Chiefs (Twitter link via Rapoport). As a result, Derrick Henry will see a larger share of carries.
  • The Giants‘ interview with Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is scheduled for Friday, Rapoport tweets.
  • The Cardinals will have their interview with Patricia on Saturday, Rapoport hears. Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores is set to interview on the same day.
  • The Lions will get to talk with Patricia over the weekend, according to Rapoport.