Could Matt Patricia Return To Patriots After Being Fired By Lions?

Is a Patriots reunion in Patricia's future?


Matt Patricia’s disastrous run as Detroit Lions head coach came to an end this past weekend.

What’s next for the former New England Patriots defensive coordinator? A return to Foxboro is one possibility.

With Patricia unlikely to be a desirable head-coaching candidate after going 13-29-1 in 2 1/2 seasons with the Lions, he could take the Josh McDaniels route and rejoin the Patriots, with whom he spent his first 14 seasons as an NFL coach.

After the Denver Broncos fired McDaniels midway through his second season as head coach, he spent one year as the St. Louis Rams’ offensive coordinator before venturing back to New England.

McDaniels, the Patriots’ longtime OC, rejoined Bill Belichick’s staff as an offensive assistant during the 2011 playoffs, so Patricia theoretically could take a job with the Patriots at any point if Belichick is interested in rehiring him.

Is he? That’s not clear. The Patriots head coach sidestepped a question about a potential Patricia reunion during his Monday appearance on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria.”

“I’d say right now, we’re really just focused on correcting the mistakes from the Arizona game and moving on to the Chargers,” Belichick said. “It?ll be a big challenge for us out there and then a short week out there for the Rams (game). So that?s really where my focus has been for the last few hours, since the end of the Arizona game.

“There?s a lot of other things to talk about at some point, but I?d say right now, this is at the doorstep.”

It’s also unclear what role Patricia would take on if he did return. The Patriots have not named an official defensive coordinator since Patricia left after the 2017 season, but outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick handles defensive play-calling duties, as Bill Belichick publicly acknowledged for the first time Sunday.

New England’s defensive staff also features inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, D-line coach DeMarcus Covington, cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino, safeties coach Brian Belichick and defensive assistant Vinnie Sunseri.

Patricia worked as an offensive assistant, assistant O-line coach, linebackers coach and safeties coach with the Patriots before taking over as defensive coordinator in 2012.

The Patriots maintained a positive relationship with the Lions throughout Patricia’s tenure, practicing in Detroit during the 2019 preseason and executing a trade involving safety Duron Harmon this past spring. New England also attempted to trade Rob Gronkowski to Patricia’s Lions in 2018 before the star tight end nixed the deal.

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