Justin Rogers, Bob Wojnowski and John Niyo discuss Bob Quinn's end-of-the-year news conference. Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
Allen Park — When it comes to roster construction, Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn works hand-in-hand with coach Matt Patricia to ensure the pair share a vision for how each player will fit. But with Patricia’s coaching staff, Quinn prefers to operate in more of a supporting role.
So when the Lions hire a new offensive coordinator this offseason, it will be Patricia making the call.
“I will help him with some research on candidates that I might have some background on or might have worked with or have been associated with in my time in the league,” Quinn said on Friday. “So, we’ll have those conversations. Matt will hire the offensive coordinator.”
Patricia talked Monday, the day before the team agreed to part ways with Jim Bob Cooter, and the head coach likely won’t talk again before he’s selected a replacement. Speaking generally about his offense, and the potential need to modernize the version Cooter ran to keep pace with the NFL’s increasingly aggressive passing attacks, Patricia explained his preference for controlling the ball and tempo of the game.
“Watch through the playoffs, most of the teams that win in the playoffs are teams that run the ball and win the big games in the end,” Patricia said. “I have been on good sides and bad sides of both of that. And teams that can run the ball, stop the run, control the game towards the end of the season is really I think the teams that will have the most chance to win.
“The passing game is certainly dynamic, the spread offenses, the things that we have to see and deal with — the RPO systems, the different developments in college that come up and infiltrate into our league are certainly things that we all have to deal with," Patricia continued. "But, there is a fundamental philosophy that I do believe with the run game and stopping the run and covering kicks that is true, and so far, that has held true so far through the course of the season.”
Speaking more specifically about the type of coordinator he expects the team to hire, Quinn focused on versatility and the continued need for balance after the team finally managed to establish a competent rushing attack in 2018.
“We want to be able to run the ball, we want to be able to use our quarterback because he has a ton of talent,” Quinn said. “We want to be diverse. We’re not going to sit there and be in four wide receivers, shotgun every play and throw it 45 times. That’s not good for anybody. On the other hand, we’re not going to be three tight ends and run the ball 40 times.
“We need to do a better job of going into each week looking at the opponent and say, ‘How are we going to beat this team?’ If they have a great run defense and a poor pass defense, maybe we throw it 45 times and vice versa. So, we want someone that thinks that way, that thinks that, ‘Hey, I have an offense, but my offense is adaptable. I can change week-to-week, or I can change from this week if I have this set of receivers, and two weeks later I don’t.'”
Quinn declined to put a timetable on the hire. The plan is to conduct a thorough search. According to the general manager, the candidate pool is wide at this stage, and he wouldn’t rule out an internal option ultimately winning the job.
One thing Quinn doesn’t anticipate is any players being involved in the process, although he couldn't rule out Patricia consulting with quarterback Matthew Stafford.
“Matthew Stafford is very opinionated on a lot of things in terms of players, coaches," Quinn said. "Maybe Matt (Patricia) will reach out to him and ask him about, ‘Hey, call your friend at this team and ask about him.’ I’m not sure, we haven’t gone that far yet.”