Lions hold off on staffing changes during NFL's 'Black Monday'
Allen Park — Relative to recent years, this version of the NFL's Black Monday was quiet.
In some ways, it was semantics, but on the day named after a traditional flurry of firings immediately following the end of the regular season, only one coach officially got the ax on Monday when the New York Giants dismissed Dearborn Heights native Pat Shurmur after two seasons.
Other jobs were lost earlier. Jay Gruden and Ron Rivera were fired during the season, while the Browns couldn't even wait until Monday before showing first-year coach Freddie Kitchens the door Sunday night.
And more firings are likely to come with Dallas and Jacksonville among the teams expected to make changes at the top later this week.
The Detroit Lions rubber-stamped the return of head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn earlier this month. But Patricia's return was, in part, contingent on staffing changes.
On that front, the team wasn't ready to announce those changes on Monday.
"We understand the roster, we understand how long it takes to build a roster, develop a roster," Patricia said. "I feel the same way as a staff, any aspect of the staff. I think there is certainly, whether it’s coaching or support staff, different areas and departments of the organization that support the players, we’re always going to want the best for the players, at all times. And obviously you can always be in a situation where if we can improve that after we analyze it, we’re going to try to improve it, certainly from that aspect."
In other words, check back later this week.
Quinn said Patricia will continue to have compete control of his own staff, but that's only partially accurate, given the demand for changes from ownership.
And even Patricia acknowledged any changes would be made with Quinn's input.
"We’re always going to look at it and try to evaluate it and work together," Patricia said.
When Patricia was initially hired by the Lions, following the Super Bowl in 2018, the timing of the hire handcuffed his ability to construct an ideal staff. Even with some other franchises having a head start on the interview process, Patricia didn't exhibit a sense of urgency to make his own changes, vaguely citing league policies and interview protocols designed to put teams on equal footing.
The Lions waited until the Tuesday after last season before announcing they wouldn't renew the contract of offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. Darrell Bevell was announced as Cooter's replacement a little more than two weeks later.
Quarterbacks coach George Godsey and running backs coach David Walker left the Lions later in January.