Matt Patricia

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

CB Rumors: Slay, Lions, Harris, Trufant

Speaking to WJR-AM in Detroit following his trade from the Lions to the Eagles, cornerback Darius Slay didn’t hold back on his substandard connection with Lions head coach Matt Patricia. Slay, who’d been in Detroit since 2013, said Patricia told him he shouldn’t have been working out with fellow corners like Richard Sherman and Aqib Talib because those players are “elite” while Slay is simply “good,” per Justin Rogers of the Detroit News (all Twitter links).

Slay also indicated his relationship with Patricia was “destroyed” in 2018, adding that he didn’t respect Patricia as a person. Clearly, the nature of Slay’s dissatisfaction played a large role in Detroit’s decision, but as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link), the Lions also had no interest in handing Slay another new deal after inking him to a four-year, $48MM extension in 2016. Philadelphia, meanwhile, gave Slay a three-year, $50MM pact after acquiring him.

Here’s more on the cornerback circuit:

  • Veteran cornerback Chris Harris says he turned down a three-year offer from the Raiders before inking a two-year, $20MM deal with the Chargers, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. Per Harris, he simply didn’t feel “comfortable” with the Raiders, and preferred to join a Chargers defense that already includes stalwarts like Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward, and Derwin James. Harris, 30, also attracted interest from teams like the Saints, Jets, Eagles, and says he picked up “tons” of one-year offers before deciding on Los Angeles.
  • After losing Harris, the Broncos are looking into adding another cornerback, according to Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter link). Denver acquired A.J. Bouye from the Jaguars earlier this month to pair with incumbent Bryce Callahan, but the club could still use another defensive back, either via free agency or the draft. Jimmy Smith, Logan Ryan, Nickell Robey-Coleman, and Ronald Darby are among the top corners still remaining on the open market.
  • The Falcons officially designated cornerback Desmond Trufant as a post-June 1 release. That move will allow Atlanta to spread Trufant’s dead money out over both the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Trufant, of course, has already found a new home, landing a two-year, $21MM deal with the Lions.

Lions To Retain Matt Patricia, GM Bob Quinn For 2020

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Ebron, Lions, Renfrow

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.

Lions Notes: Patricia, Pasqualoni, Quinn

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.
  • Though the Lions’ playoff hopes are long gone, QB Matthew Stafford still wants to return to the field this year.

Extra Points: Gurley, Longacre, CBA

In his first day on the field at Rams training camp, Todd Gurley looked like vintage Gurley, The Athletic’s Vincent Bonsignore writes.

The All-Pro back looked like his old self early, showing an ability put plenty of weight on his knee and cut without any apparent issue. That knee, of course, underwent reconstructive surgery in college and gave him issues down the stretch in 2018, leading to C.J. Anderson‘s breakout stint in the playoffs.

As Bonsignore writes, that he looked good doesn’t mean much at this point. It’s all about getting him on the field and keeping him there over the course of a 16-game season. The Rams will be sure to take it easy with Gurley, but this is a great first step for one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers.

A healthy Gurley, who led the league in rushing touchdowns for a second consecutive season in 2018, would make the reigning NFC champions the conference’s favorites once again thanks to its loaded offense and talent-rich defense.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Buccaneers safety Orion Stewart was carted off the field on Sunday with an apparent serious right knee injury, Eduardo Encina of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The safety was covering Cameron Brate when their legs tangled, leading Stewart to come down awkwardly. A free agent acquisition in 2019, Stewart was working with the Bucs’ second unit.
  • Colts defensive end Jabaal Sheard suffered a knee injury in training camp and is expected to “miss some time,” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes. Just how long that “some time” is remains unclear, but the defensive end didn’t return to practice on Friday due to swelling and soreness. Colts head coach Frank Reich said the injury isn’t season-ending.
  • Just four days after the Cardinals signed linebacker Matt Longacre, the team released him on Sunday, Florio writes. The move comes just a day after the team activated Brooks Reed from the physically unable to perform list. In 2018, Longacre appeared in 13 games with the Rams, recording one sack and 17 tackles.
  • Lions defensive lineman Mike Daniels said he received interest from 13 teams but decided to join Detroit because he wanted to play for head coach Matt Patricia, Florio writes. Though the pair have never worked together before, Daniels called the coach “a genius.”
  • Originally, a meeting was to be held on Monday to discuss the Collective Bargaining Agreement between owners and the NFLPA. That will no longer take place, as the meeting has been rescheduled for early August, Florio writes.

Bill Belichick Expected To Call Patriots’ Defensive Plays?

Nearly two months after Greg Schiano backtracked on his commitment to become the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, the job remains unfilled. Should it stay vacant, the Pats would have a fairly reliable contingency plan.

With Bill Belichick towering over his defensive staff in terms of NFL experience, the current expectation is he will call defensive plays for the Patriots this season, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes.

Ceding that responsibility to Matt Patricia and Brian Flores for the past several years, Belichick obviously played a key role in the Pats’ defense. Belichick would often determine when Patricia or Flores would call blitzes, Volin adds. The eight-time Super Bowl champion, counting his two as Giants DC, is coming off perhaps the Super Bowl’s defensive masterpiece — the Rams’ three-point night — and his teams have fielded a top-10 scoring defense 15 times in his 19-year New England tenure.

However, Belichick in a dual role is not the Pats’ official plan just yet. They will use the OTAs and minicamp period to determine their strategy here, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (video link). Flores’ exit leaves the Patriots light on experience among their defensive staff, with former Wisconsin and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema — previously viewed as a DC option — bringing the most seasoning. And most of that came in college.

After a year of consulting with the team, Bielema is slated to coach New England’s defensive line. Jerod Mayo, whom Garafolo adds is viewed as a possible future defensive coordinator, will split linebackers coaching duties with DeMarcus Covington — with Mayo working with the inside ‘backers and Covington assigned to help the outside players. Mike Pellegrino will oversee the cornerbacks, the team announced. Mayo, Covington and Pellegrino will be first-year position coaches.

Barring an outside hire, or the Patriots handing the reins to Bielema, Belichick would seem the logical choice to play the lead role on defense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions, Jim Bob Cooter Mutually Part Ways

Jim Bob Cooter‘s run with Matt Patricia in Detroit will be limited to one year. The Lions and their longtime offensive coordinator will mutually part ways, Albert Breer of SI.com reports (on Twitter). The team announced it will not renew Cooter’s contract.

Cooter, the youngest active NFL OC, had generated interest from other teams in recent days and will likely be a name to monitor as the OC carousel accelerates in the coming days. The 34-year-old coach has received interview requests, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The Lions promoted Cooter to offensive coordinator midway through the 2015 season, and the young coach helped elevate Matthew Stafford‘s game. This topped out when Detroit finished as the NFL’s No. 7 scoring offense in 2017, doing so without much of a running game. But this season, Stafford’s numbers regressed, down by more than 600 passing yards and going from 7.9 yards per attempt in 207 to 6.8 this season, as did the Lions’ offense in a 6-10 season.

After letting Eric Ebron walk in the offseason, the Lions traded Golden Tate and saw Marvin Jones and Kerryon Johnson go down midseason. They plummeted to 25th in scoring in 2018.

Patricia overhauled Detroit’s defense staff upon taking the Lions’ reins but left Cooter in place. Patricia fired Lions special teams boss Joe Marciano during the season and now looks set to reshape the franchise’s offensive staff.

Cooter interviewed for the job Patricia ended up getting, and while a head coaching gig may not be in his immediate future, another OC opportunity probably will.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Coaching Rumors: Fitzgerald, Harbaugh, Bengals

We heard last night that the Packers are interested in Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, and now there is some fire for that smoke, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Green Bay is expected to request an interview with Fitzgerald after Northwestern plays in tomorrow’s Holiday Bowl. It is unclear whether Fitzgerald will accept the interview request, but Packers CEO and president Mark Murphy was Northwestern’s athletic director when Fitzgerald was hired as the Wildcats’ head coach in 2006, and the two men have a great deal of respect for each other.

Now for more coaching rumors from the league’s north divisions:

  • Schefter reports that at least one team that is considering a head coaching change is also considering calling the Ravens about a potential trade for head coach John Harbaugh if Baltimore is eliminated from postseason contention today, and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk) says multiple teams are thinking about making a run at the 11th-year HC. The Ravens announced earlier this month, despite weeks of rumors to the contrary, that Harbaugh would remain in Baltimore in 2019, but his future with the club still does not feel like a slam dunk. Florio suggests that Baltimore would want at least two first-round picks in exchange for Harbaugh.
  • No one is sure what will happen with Marvin Lewis and the Bengals, and his assistant coaches are actively trying to find out, per Florio. Some believe Lewis will retire from coaching and begin a broadcasting career, while others believe he could become a candidate for the Cardinals‘ head coaching job. If Lewis moves on, Florio writes — as has been reported numerous times — that Hue Jackson would be a candidate to replace him, as would current Vikings head coach (and former Cincinnati DC) Mike Zimmer. Zimmer would perhaps be interested in the Bengals’ gig, per Florio, but much would depend on whether Minnesota would let him leave and if the Vikings would demand significant compensation in exchange.
  • The Vikings will likely attempt to promote interim OC Kevin Stefanski to the full-time job in 2019, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The problem is that Stefanski is only under contract through 2018, so Minnesota may have to fight to retain him.
  • We heard several weeks ago that Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams has a chance to get the “interim” tag removed, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Cleveland will indeed give Williams serious consideration (though the team will obviously interview other candidates and continue its full-blown search). Ownership remains high on Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, but if the team does not give Williams the full-time job, it will risk losing the bulk of the staff that has led the Browns’ promising turnaround this year.
  • Lions OC Jim Bob Cooter‘s contract is up at the end of the season, per Rapoport, who suggests that it would be a surprise if Cooter remained in Detroit in 2019. The 34-year-old is expected to be a highly-coveted OC candidate assuming he and the Lions part ways. Unsurprisingly, Rapoport says head coach Matt Patricia is safe [SOURCE LINK].

Lions Notes: Patricia, Ansah, Martin

The Lions looked like one of the league’s worst teams on Monday night while suffering a humiliating loss to the Jets, and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) there are already rumblings that Detroit’s veterans aren’t happy with first-year head coach Matt Patricia. The former Patriots defensive coordinator has reportedly installed rules that Lions players find cumbersome while (in the opinion on the player) over-working them during practice sessions. Ex-New England coordinators finding conflict in their first go-round sans Bill Belichick is nothing new (see: Josh McDaniels, Eric Mangini), but Patricia’s standing with his veteran players is certainly something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

Here’s more from the Motor City:

  • Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah left Monday night’s contest with a shoulder injury, but an MRI revealed the issue isn’t serious, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, who adds Ansah is “hopeful” he can play against the 49ers in Week 2. Losing Ansah for any amount of time would be devastating for the Lions, who don’t have much depth on the edge and ranked just 22nd in adjusted sack rate a season ago. Ansah, 29, was franchise-tagged this offseason and is now earning $17.143MM for the 2018 campaign, but he’ll need to produce again this year in order to land a multi-year deal next spring. He finished the 2017 season with 12 sacks, 44 total tackles, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
  • The Lions aren’t pleased with punter Sam Martin after the club allowed multiple lengthy returns against the Jets, so they’re taking a look at free agent options, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Ryan Santoso, an undrafted rookie free agent who spent the summer with Detroit, was in for a workout, as was veteran Ryan Quigley. Martin, for his part, ranked second-to-last in net punting average in 2017, but the Lions’ punting unit ranked in the middle of the pack, per Football Outsiders’ special teams metrics. Detroit would take on at least $1.5MM in dead money over the next two seasons if it cuts Martin.
  • In case you missed it, the Lions auditioned free agent cornerback David Amerson earlier this week in an effort to shore up a weak secondary.