The Detroit Lions fired Jim Caldwell after back-to-back 9-7 seasons believing they needed a change to get over the hump. In his first season, Matt Patricia has taken Martha Firestone Ford's team backward, sitting at 5-10 heading into Week 17.
Despite the drastic step back, Patricia is convinced he won't be a one-and-done head coach after meeting with the owner.
"I'm pretty confident," Patricia said, via the Detroit News. "Everything for me, right now, is just keep moving forward and getting ready for the game this weekend. Like I said, I meet with Mrs. Ford every week, so they've been great. Her and her family have been great."
The Lions handed Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn matching five-year contracts hoping to turn Detroit into the New England Great Lakes Chapter.
Thus far the change has been rocky. There were early-season rumblings about players being unhappy about rigorous training camp practices. Most of the complaints have been brushed off as a product of changing systems and the sliding expectations that come with the differences in head coaches.
Now there are accusations that Patricia has been late to meetings. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press cited an anonymous ex-Lion who said the coach was "consistently late" during his months in Detroit.
Perhaps it's a former player with an ax to grind. Perhaps Patricia has a good reason to be late for certain meetings. None of this would matter if the Lions weren't a five-win team.
Turning around an ever-losing franchise is what Patricia was hired to accomplish. Sometimes it takes painful processes to eradicate poison from an open wound. Culture changes rarely go smoothly. If the coach reshapes the team in his liking and builds a winner, this season will be a blip on the radar. If the Lions continue to lose, he won't be around long enough to see his plan through. Whatever that plan is.