Lions introduce Matt Patricia: 'We have great aspirations'

Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Football

DETROIT -- They forged their relationship in the 12 years they spent together in New England, when they took long car rides together to evaluate draft prospects and sat in each other's office late at night discussing players.

On Wednesday, Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia were reunited again, this time as Detroit Lions general manager and head coach, in a union that the long-suffering organization hopes will eventually lead it to Super Bowl-type success.

Quinn and Patricia were clear at the latter's introductory news conference Wednesday that they are "not putting any timelines or timetables on when we're going to win what."

But Quinn also promised: "We have great aspirations of what we want to do in this organization."

Patricia, 43, takes over a 9-7 team that narrowly missed the playoffs last season after earning a wild-card berth in 2016. He's coming off his own Super Bowl run with the Patriots, and on Wednesday he made a favorable first impression when he introduced himself to Detroit as a leader, a problem solver and someone who will represent the toughness of the city.

Patricia spoke lovingly about his wife, children and parents, all of whom watched the proceedings from a few yards away.

He promised to field a hard-working and high-character team.

And as Quinn spent five minutes answering reporters' questions on the dais, Patricia often nodded his head in agreement with his long-time friend.

"They're not the same person," Lions president Rod Wood said after the news conference. "They're going to see things in sometimes different ways, but I think they'll have a way of figuring it out and doing what's right for the Lions. But there's a trust factor that you can't really repeat right out of the gate with a brand new person that's very obvious to me and should be a beneficial thing for the team."

The Lions interviewed Patricia twice, on Jan. 5 during the Patriots' first-round playoff bye and again three weeks later during their week off before the Super Bowl, and Quinn said he and Patricia are like-minded in many aspects of football.


"I'm not going to go into every question I asked him (in the interviews), but I think overall Matt's answers really just were very aligned with what I really believe in and what I really believe will take us to that next level," Quinn said. "And going through the interview process with other candidates, I didn't really know a lot of those guys personally. I knew a few of them, but the 12 years that we worked together, those are a lot of long hours, there were long drives to look at players, long conversations in your office late at night about players. How would you do this? How do you think this guy played? Can this guy fit in this scheme? There was hours upon hours that were built up over those 12 years that really made the interview process, the two times that we met, it was really seamless. It was like we were back in this office talking football again. It's a really good alignment."

The Lions interviewed five candidates before settling on Patricia: In-house candidates Jim Bob Cooter and Teryl Austin; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who was hired as New York Giants coach; Green Bay Packers associate head coach Winston Moss; and Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, the runner-up to Patricia in Detroit and now the head coach of the Tennessee Titans.

Patricia said Cooter will remains on staff, but he stopped short of saying Cooter will retain the offensive coordinator title in 2018.

The Lions have won just one playoff game in Patricia's lifetime -- during the 1991 season when Patricia was still in high school -- but Patricia said Wednesday he believes he can the coach to buck that trend and lead the organization to success.

"Whatever anybody's done in the past, that really doesn't have anything to do with me," Patricia said. "I just got to try to go out and make sure I can do my best going forward and put a plan in place to hopefully help us achieve success and make sure that we're working in the right direction that Bob and myself have set forward based on our vision.

"So I'm not really worried about what everybody else has done, I'm just trying to make sure I do everything in my power to do it right."

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