Why Detroit Lions GM Bob Quinn’s hiring of Matt Patricia is unoriginal

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New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the expected next head coach of the Detroit Lions, speaks to the media after the Eagles won Super Bowl LII, 41-33, on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. Video by Dave Birkett/DFP

This is all about Bob Quinn.

Yes, the Detroit Lions finally announced the hiring of Matt Patricia on Monday as the 27th head coach in franchise history. It will be interesting to put the latest Lions coach under the microscope and examine how he handles himself and how he prepares his team.

But Patricia’s hiring is really about the Lions’ general manager and what it says about his strategy and his vision for the team.

And what it says is that his strategy is unoriginal and uninspired. This was Quinn’s first chance to hire his own coach and he made the most obvious hire he could:

His old pal from his old job.

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I’m guessing the conversation went something like this.

Quinn: “Dude.”

Patricia: “Dude.”

Quinn: “Wanna come to Detroit?”

Patricia: “Word.”

I’m not saying hiring Patricia is a bad decision or even the wrong decision. Maybe he leads the Lions to 10 straight Super Bowl championships and Woodward Avenue gets renamed Patricia Parade Route. Or maybe he’s fired after 2 years. Who knows? He has no coaching track record, only an extensive and impressive apprenticeship under Bill Belichick in New England.

All of which might mean nothing because everyone has to start somewhere. The Lions took a chance on Quinn as a first-time GM, and he’s taking a chance on Patricia as a first-time coach. They both came up as grunts in the Patriots organization and worked together for 12 years. Makes sense.

My problem with the hiring, and other big moves Quinn has made, is that it lacks originality. The NFL, maybe more than any other sport, consists of a small club of men who usually hire their buddies and former coworkers. So maybe it’s not too surprising that when Quinn finally got to make the move that likely will define his tenure, he reached for the most familiar and lowest-hanging fruit.

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