Hiring Matt Patricia has seemed like a formality for the Detroit Lions, but he may be shifting his focus.
As head coaching openings are starting to be filled around the league, the Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals are still looking. New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia has been a top candidate for the Lions’ job, and the move to hire him has come off as inevitable.
But Patricia may have another job in mind. According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, “all signs point” to Patricia becoming the Giants’ head coach. Leonard even went so far as to debunk the idea a deal with the Lions is essentially done, with some indication Patricia prefers the Giants over the Lions.
Patricia will remain in full Bill Belichick, say nothing in any public way-mode until the Patriots’ season is over. But background work has and can be done to hire head coaches, with an official announcement to come quickly once a candidate is done in a previous job.
The Lions are a bit of a red-headed step child in the NFL, and the Detroit Free Press has pointed out Patricia spurning them for another head coaching job would be nothing new.
In hindsight fate smiled on the Lions when former general manager Martin Mayhew wanted to hire Ken Whisenhunt in 2014. He eventually went to the Tennessee Titans and did not even last two full seasons, with a 3-20 record, while Detroit quickly shifted to hire Jim Caldwell.
If Patricia does indicate privately he will go to the Giants, the Lions will not lack for options to hire as their next head coach. Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Green Bay Packers associate head coach Winston Moss and current offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter have interviewed for the job. Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks could enter the mix as well, as he hits the interview circuit this week.