3 Coaches the Lions Could Consider If Matt Patricia is Fired Prior to 2020 Season

Max Staley
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The Detroit Lions have been among the strangest teams in the league this season. Before Matthew Stafford went out with a back injury, he was quietly playing at an MVP level. In fact, Stafford still ranks top five in yards per attempt (8.6), passing yards per game (312.4) and touchdown percentage (6.5).

And yet, the Lions were just 3-4-1 over the first half of the season, seemingly because the team's defense couldn't stop anyone. Detroit's defense has surrendered the third-most passing yards (3,030), is tied for last in interceptions (four) and is tied as the sixth-worst scoring unit in the league (26.5 points per game) now 12 weeks in the season.

The brunt of that blame could fall squarely on head coach Matt Patricia, who the Lions hired for his sterling reputation as a defensive mind during his time with the New England Patriots. After losing to the Washington Redskins in Week 12, here are three coaches that could replace Patricia if he's fired prior to the 2020 season.

1. Robert Saleh, Defensive Coordinator, San Francisco 49ers

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If you've watched the San Francisco 49ers play this season, you've likely seen Robert Saleh's intense sideline celebrations. But he's known for more than just that, as he's helped take this 49ers' unit from the fifth-worst scoring defense in 2018 to the second-best in 2019. Detroit doesn't have nearly the same level of talent that San Francisco does, but there are enough pieces, namely Trey Flowers, Darius Slay and Damon Harrison, that this defense shouldn't be among the league's worst. Perhaps Saleh can finally get the Lions' defense to play up to its potential.

2. Greg Roman, Offensive Coordinator, Baltimore Ravens

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What Greg Roman has done in his first year as the offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens has been nothing short of remarkable. Baltimore has the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL coming into its "Monday Night Football" game with the Los Angeles Rams and the Ravens are averaging 3.9 more points per game than any other team in football right now. While a lot of credit should be given to NFL MVP favorite Lamar Jackson, Roman has undeniably put the QB in a great position to succeed. And this isn't exactly new for him. The 49ers were a top-12 scoring offense in three of Roman's four seasons as the team's OC, and the Bills were a top-12 scoring offense in both of his seasons in Buffalo. Roman is the type of coach that could finally give Stafford a reliable running game to take some pressure off Detroit's franchise QB.

3. Kevin Stefanski, Offensive Coordinator, Minnesota Vikings

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Kevin Stefanski has taken last season's underwhelming Minnesota Vikings offense and rebuilt it from the ground up. Minnesota was the 14th-worst scoring offense in 2018, but the Vikings are now the eighth-best scoring unit in 2019. Kirk Cousins' stark turnaround has been particularly notable, as he's on pace to throw for 4,007 yards, 31 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 70.6 percent of his passes. If Detroit is searching for an under-the-radar head coaching candidate, the Lions don't have to look outside of the NFC North to find a bright, young offensive mind.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.