Lions' Matt Patricia 'pretty confident' he'll be back in 2019
Allen Park — There's plenty of precedent for an NFL head coach being fired after one season.
The San Francisco 49ers recently did it in back-to-back years with Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly. And this year, it's being reported the Arizona Cardinals, who are on track to finish with the league's worst record, will part ways with Steve Wilks at season's end.
So it's a fair question to ask whether Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia's job is safe. The answer, after receiving matching five-year contracts with general manager Bob Quinn this past offseason, is almost certainly yes. But has Patricia been told he'll be back in 2019, one way or the other, by team owner Martha Firestone Ford?
"I’m pretty confident," Patricia said. "Everything for me, right now, is just keep moving forward and getting ready for the game this weekend. Like I said, I meet with Mrs. Ford every week, so they’ve been great. Her and her family have been great.”
Patricia said he prefers to keep the nature of those conversations between the two parties.
"I’m going to keep everything in-house as far as all that’s concerned," Patricia said. "I think, again, we’re just pushing forward for Green Bay right now. I want to keep the topic of Green Bay; that’d be great."
After Sunday's loss to the Minnesota Vikings, which dropped the Lions to 5-10 on the year, defensive back Quandre Diggs was asked whether the team believed Patricia was still the right guy for the job. Diggs bristled at the query.
"That’s not a natural question," Diggs said. "You see guys still going out there and playing when it’s time to line up. I just feel like that’s an awful question, terrible question. So, I’m not even going to answer that.
"He’s been a winner his whole career. At the end of the day, we’re going to get things right and we’re going to play hard. You all know I don’t like dumb questions, don’t even bring those questions to me."
One change the Lions are expected to make this offseason will be at offensive coordinator. The Lions rank 24th in yards and 26th in points through 15 weeks, while quarterback Matthew Stafford is in the midst of his worst season in five years.
Patricia danced around questions about what he expects from the position, preferring to highlight the need for everyone to be better going forward, himself included.
"I think for the team right now, all of us are just trying to work hard to do a better job, and hopefully we can get that done this weekend," Patricia said. "From special teams, to offense, to defense, I think all of us have areas where we can improve and get better. Certainly, as a head coach, I can. And the coordinators, and their positions and special teams, I have to keep pushing that along, too. So, we’re just trying to eliminate some of the mistakes that have been made here in the last couple weeks, which have cost us in some really close, tough situations. Again, just try to do everything we can to get a win."