Mobile, Ala. -- Matt Patricia hasn’t been named head coach of the Detroit Lions yet, but he’s already making the calls on the team’s coaching staff, The Detroit News has learned.
Patricia personally called Lions assistant coaches Bill Sheridan (linebackers) and Alan Williams (defensive backs) to tell them that they would not be retained, a team source told The News on Tuesday. The source requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
Sheridan and Williams, who have been on the Lions' staff since 2014, were under contract for 2018.
Quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan reportedly also won’t be coming back next season.
The Lions cannot hire Patricia, the New England Patriots defensive coordinator, as head coach until after Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4. He was one of six interviewed by the Lions. Three have already accepted jobs with other teams – Mike Vrabel (head coach, Tennessee Titans), Pat Shurmur (head coach, New York Giants), and Teryl Austin (defensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals).
With the two-week break between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, the Lions can interview Patricia for a second time this week as long as the Patriots grant permission and it takes place at a time and location that’s acceptable for New England. After this week, Patricia is off limits again until after Feb. 4. The Lions have not announced plans to do so.
The Lions would be able to add new position coaches before finalizing a deal with Patricia since they would sign contracts with the team and not the head coach. However, at his season-ending press conference, Lions general manager Bob Quinn said the team’s new coach would determine the assistant coaching staff.
At the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Tuesday, Quinn declined to comment on any coaching staff changes.
The Lions will require a major overhaul on defense with Austin gone and defensive line coach Kris Kocurek taking a job with the Miami Dolphins.
Along with Quinn, wide receivers coach Robert Prince, tight ends coach Al Golden, assistant special teams coach Devin Fitzsimmons and offensive assistant Evan Rothstein were among the assistants on hand with the Lions’ front-office staff at the Senior Bowl.
Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is expected to be retained, while the status of cornerbacks coach Tony Oden is still to be determined.