Detroit Lions move backward to 6-10 with Matt Patricia in 1st year as head coach
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions fired Jim Caldwell nearly a year ago to reach another level.
So far at least, they have gone in the wrong direction.
The Lions plummeted to 6-10 and last place in the NFC North in Matt Patricia’s first season as head coach, their worst year since losing 12 games in 2012.
“We all have to do better and it starts with me,” Patricia said Monday.
Caldwell was Detroit’s most successful coach in the Super Bowl era, averaging nine wins over four seasons and reaching the playoffs twice. That wasn’t good enough for general manager Bob Quinn, who made the move to cut him loose.
The former New England executive chose to reunite with Patricia, who was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, and the leader of the front office wasn’t available for interviews all season to assess the way the shaky season was going.
Team owner Martha Firestone Ford, who also is rarely available to the media, did briefly address the media Sunday.
“We finished in a good spot, in a good way,” Ford told reporters at Green Bay.
The Lions closed the season with a 31-0 win against the Packers after losing seven of nine, a slump that knocked them out of contention in the NFC North to having the No. 8 pick overall in the NFL draft .
“We’re all very disappointed in the way the season ended,” Patricia acknowledged. “We had high expectations and we’ll continue those high expectations. The bar is high for a reason.”
Detroit got off to a rough start, getting routed by the New York Jets at home and losing at San Francisco, before bouncing back with a 26-10 win over New England and reaching .500 in late October.
The Lions made a shrewd move in October, acquiring run-stuffing defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison from the New York Giants.
But they made a move less than a week later that sent signals the future was more important, sending receiver Golden Tate to Philadelphia.
Assuming Stafford returns, he will be working with a new offensive coordinator for the first time in three-plus seasons. Jim Bob Cooter, who was retained when Patricia hired, was let go by the Lions on Tuesday.