Sporting News: Lions' Patricia No. 4 among new head coaches

The Detroit News

The Detroit Lions got the head coach they wanted in Matt Patricia, who general manager Bob Quinn said can lead the franchise to “the next level.”

But, was he the best new hire of the offseason? Not quite, writes Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News. In a “strong class” new head coaches, Iyer on Tuesday ranked Patricia at No. 4 — right smack dab in the middle of the seven-man class.

The Lions hired Patricia, 43, from the New England Patriots, where he spent the past 14 seasons, including the last six as defensive coordinator.

“Patricia reunites with former New England executive Bob Quinn, now Detroit’s fine general manager,” Iyer writes of the pair, who spent 12 years together in New England. “With Matthew Stafford in a groove, there was no reason to replace offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. The Lions’ defensive talent needs to be maximized, and a strong secondary is a familiar foundation for Patricia and his seasoned coordinator, Paul Pasqualoni.”

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To be fair, it appears Iyer doesn’t have a beef with any of the new hires, calling new Titans coach Mike Vrabel, who ranks No. 7 on the list, a “solid” choice for Tennessee.

Dearnborn native and former Michigan State offensive lineman Pat Shurmur checked in at No. 6 with the New York Giants. Former Lions quarterback Frank Reich, who was hired Monday by the Indianapolis Colts after Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels backed out of the job, is No. 3 in a move Iyer called “a home run.”

Jon Gruden’s return to Oakland tops Iyer’s list.