98.5 The Sports Hub staff report
Now ex-Lions head coach Matt Patricia’s first run as an NFL head coach could not have gone much worse than it did.
Hired away from the Patriots following the team’s Super Bowl LII loss, Patricia essentially got worse every year in Detroit. After starting out with a 6-10 record in 2018, the Lions followed that up with a 3-12-1 record in 2019, and captured wins in just four of their first 11 games this season prior to his dismissal last week.
It came with a complete (and justified) teardown of the reputation Patricia built for himself during his six-year run as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, as he departed the organization as one of the game’s hottest ‘next big coaching hire’ candidates.
But a return to his old Foxborough stomping grounds be in the cards, as revealed by The MMQB’s Albert Breer during a Wednesday appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand program.
“I think he’d want to come back,” Breer said. “He’s got family connections here, he’s got a great relationship with Bill [Belichick]. I personally think Matt wants to do right by his family here and wants to give them some stability, and New England would be a pretty stable place considering the connections here and everything else.”
Patricia wouldn’t be the first ex-Patriot coordinator to return after a failed head coaching stint. It’s exactly what Josh McDaniels did — and with his name dragged through the mud in similar fashion given the unmitigated disaster (with a filming controversy of his own and all) — almost a decade ago.
It’d also make a lot of sense given the Patriots’ upcoming tasks.
“The plus here is that you’re at a point where you’re going to have to have guys who know how to develop young talent,” Breer said. “You don’t have enough young talent, you’re gonna be drafting a lot of young guys over the next few years. You need people who can develop them. Well, one of the things you can say about the job Patricia did as defensive coordinator is that they developed a lot of young guys; Chandler Jones, Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler. They developed a lot of really good young players while he was here.”
There’s certainly some similarly high-end, malleable pieces on this defense, too. From Kyle Dugger to Chase Winovich to Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings, Patricia may be just what this group needs to take that next step like the previous core.
But there’s also a potential negative ripple effect that comes with a Patricia return, according to Breer.
“The minus is what does that mean for everybody else who’s still on this staff?” Breer asked. “Now, I don’t think it would affect Jerod Mayo too much. He’s got momentum. I think he’s gonna be a head coach in the next few years somewhere. I think that happens. So, does Bill hire Patricia back knowing that could create a little bit of a glass ceiling on [someone like] his own son?”
The Patriots were a top 10 scoring defense in all six of Patricia’s seasons as defensive coordinator. This year, the Patriots rank 12th in that category, surrendering 23.2 points per game this season.
Listen to Breer’s complete chat with the guys below.