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Matt Patricia to Return as Lions HC in 2020; Bob Quinn Will Be Retained as GM

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2019

Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia speaks to the media after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Despite a disappointing first two seasons with the Detroit Lions, Matt Patricia will remain the team's head coach going into next year. 

Lions owner Martha Ford told reporters Tuesday that Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn will be back in 2020. 

Quinn has been the Lions general manager since 2016 after spending 16 seasons working in various roles with the New England Patriots. His track record as a talent evaluator has been spotty, but the team has found solid starters in recent years like Taylor Decker, Kenny Golladay and Frank Ragnow. 

The 45-year-old Patricia has led the team to a 3-10-1 record with two games remaining in 2019 after going 6-10 in his first season, which was already the franchise's worst record since 2012.

A highly regarded defensive coordinator with the Patriots, Patricia took over a team that had stagnated under Jim Caldwell with the hope that a group that went 9-7 in consecutive years could take the next step with a coaching change.

However, things got immediately got worse in 2018 with few bright spots over the course of the year. The head coach also had a tense relationship with the media at times during his first season.

Though ownership gave Patricia another chance to right the ship, the 2019 campaign wasn't any better despite a promising 2-0-1 start. The Lions fell apart after their Week 5 bye, with things made even worse when Matthew Stafford's season came to an end in November due to multiple fractures in his spine.  

The coach stressed patience in November in providing time for a rebuild, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press:

"I would say, for me and this team, we're fighting every single week to try to go out and do our best and make sure we're putting ourselves in a position where we can have that opportunity to win. I also know that this is a process. I know there's a lot in play here that we're going through, and we're trying to build, and we're trying to do the best we can to improve and get better."

It appears management will give him this opportunity to see out his plan, giving Patricia at least a third year at the helm. Detroit hasn't had a coach last more than five years with the organization since Wayne Fontes from 1988-96.

The Lions still have a lot of talent on the roster, especially if Stafford can return to full strength in 2020. The problems have come on the defensive end, which was supposed to be Patricia's specialty coming into this role.

The head coach joined the team after spending 14 years with the New England Patriots, including six as a defensive coordinator. He will hope his expertise on that side of the ball will lead to more success on the field next season.