The Duel

3 Coaches the Lions Can Hire to Replace Matt Patricia

Max Staley
Matt Patricia is on the hot seat, and he could be replaced by these three coaches.
Matt Patricia is on the hot seat, and he could be replaced by these three coaches. / Grant Halverson/Getty Images
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The Matt Patricia era has been a disaster for the Detroit Lions. Midway through his third season at the helm, the team is 13-28-1 across his 42 games as head coach. That's a winning percentage of just 32.1% – demonstrably worse than his predecessor, Jim Caldwell, who was fired after posting a winning percentage of 56.3% through four years.

The supposed defensive guru hasn't been getting it done on that side of the ball, either. In fact, it's trending in the wrong direction. Detroit was the league's No. 16 scoring defense in 2018, fell to No. 26 in 2019, and currently ranks No. 28 in 2020.

At this point, it's more of a question of when he'll be fired, not if. When the organization inevitably decides to pull the plug, here are three coaches the Lions could hire to replace Patricia.

3. Eric Bieniemy, OC, Kansas City Chiefs

Eric Bieniemy was one of the league's top head-coaching candidates last year, but he ended up remaining with the Kansas City Chiefs for 2020. History is not likely to repeat itself there. Bieniemy has played an integral role in building a Chiefs' offense that has ranked top five in points scored every year since he took over in 2018. He's helped develop Patrick Mahomes, who has been the league's most dominant quarterback from the moment he stepped on the field. Whether Detroit wants to maximize Matthew Stafford or develop his potential replacement, Bieniemy could be the organization's best choice.

2. Brandon Staley, DC, Los Angeles Rams

Alternatively, if the Lions want to stick with a defensive identity, Brandon Staley should be their first call. The 37-year-old has worked wonders in his first year as a defensive coordinator. His Los Angeles Rams rank No. 1 in yards allowed and No. 2 in points allowed. That's a significant upgrade over what this team did with Wade Phillips at the helm in 2019, ranking No. 17 in points allowed and No. 13 in yards. With Sean McVay's offense generally having a down year, Staley's defense is the reason the Rams are viewed as legitimate contenders. And before you ask, no, we're not related. But with the payday he's going to get in the offseason, I sure wish we were.

1. Joe Brady, OC, Carolina Panthers

The Lions did just swing and miss on a defensive guru, so hiring an offensive-minded coach feels like the way to go. And there aren't many better offensive minds than Joe Brady. He helped build an LSU Tigers' offense that was arguably the best the NCAA has ever seen in 2019, and he picked up right where he left off in the NFL. The Carolina Panthers aren't elite by any stretch, but they rank No. 7 in Football Outsiders' offensive DVOA metrics. It's not like he's working with top-flight talent, either. Christian McCaffrey has missed the majority of the season, and no one is going to mistake Teddy Bridgewater for an elite QB any time soon. Plus, Brady even coaxed a solid performance out of XFL star PJ Walker against this very Lions' defense. Stafford deserves a shot to finally play with an offensive mind of Brady's caliber, and Detroit would be foolish not to bring the 31-year-old in for an interview.


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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.

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