Connect with us

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions fired head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn on Saturday after two straight seasons under-.500 and a third season where the team was again under-.500 at midseason.

Patricia’s record was 13-29-1 since taking over as the Lions coach in 2018. Quinn had been the team’s GM since 2016, and the Lions were 31-43-1 during his tenure.

Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will be the team’s interim head coach, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Lions went 7-19-1 with Patricia and Quinn paired together over the the last two-plus years, a stark decline from when Quinn made the decision to fire former coach Jim Caldwell after the 2017 season following back-to-back 9-7 years.

When Quinn did that and then hired one of his former New England Patriots counterparts, it tied the two of them together in success or failure. Soon after Patricia was hired, Quinn was given a matching timeframe contract going through the 2022 season — further putting the two in a similar category.

Things never prospered under Patricia and it ended up costing both of them their jobs.

In December 2019, when the Lions decided to keep Quinn and Patricia for the 2020 season, then-owner Martha Ford and then-vice chair Sheila Ford Hamp said they expected to be playing meaningful games this December.

Hamp, when she took over ownership of the team in June, said the goals remained the same despite the shift in ownership and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The overarching thing is that we want to see major improvement and at this point I can’t really say what the specific measures are going to be because I don’t know what the season is going to be like yet,” Hamp said in June. “But believe me, major improvement is the goal.”

The Lions hired Quinn in January, 2016 after firing team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew midway through the 2015 season after the Lions started 1-7. When Quinn was hired, he said he would focus heavily on the depth of the roster and in his first major decisions chose to retain Caldwell and then sign wide receiver Marvin Jones from Cincinnati to help replace Calvin Johnson, who retired two months into Quinn’s tenure.

Jones ended up being one of Quinn’s best signings, putting up 1,011 yards in 2017 and catching 256 passes for 3,821 yards and 32 touchdowns during his first four-plus seasons with the Lions. Holding on to Caldwell seemed to pay dividends too, as Caldwell took Detroit to the playoffs in 2016 and finished 9-7 in 2017.

But Quinn, after Caldwell’s second straight 9-7 season, fired him because he felt Caldwell couldn’t advance the Lions to “beat the really good teams. Our record was above average. We’re 9-7 the last two years, but our record against the better teams in the league has not been that good.”

Detroit, under Patricia, then won 12 games in the next two-and-a-half seasons. And it was the team’s performance, especially after the promises of hiring a coach that would get them, as Quinn described, “to the next level, and to me that’s winning championships,” never happened.

Detroit has gone 26 years without a division title, last claiming a crown in 1993, and have not won a playoff game since the 1991 season.

When Quinn set out to hire Patricia, he called the relationship between the head coach and general manager “the most important relationship in this building,” and said they have to be able communicate with each other about players that do and don’t fit.

Patricia and Quinn had similar visions for players and what Patricia needed to make his scheme successful. That shared vision never coalesced into anything other than inconsistency and on-the-field failure.

Beyond the on-the-field failings, there were off-the-field miscues. Detroit missed a decades-old sexual assault allegation against Patricia during their background check while hiring him. Months after Patricia was hired, it uncovered by the Detroit News and led to public scrutiny over hiring Patricia before he even coached a game.

Once the games started, it didn’t get much better. The Lions were blown out on Monday Night Football by the New York Jets, 48-17, in Patricia’s first game and the franchise won back-to-back games just once during the 2018 season.

During those two seasons, Quinn also made unpopular moves for the fanbase and the locker room, trading away receiver Golden Tate to Philadelphia at the trade deadline in 2018 and safety Quandre Diggs a week before last season’s trade deadline.

Quinn made some savvy moves, including trading a fifth-round pick to the Giants to acquire Damon Harrison and shore up the team’s run defense midway through the 2018 season. He also had success in the third round of the draft, selecting starters Kenny Golladay, Will Harris and Tracy Walker in that round along with Graham Glasgow, who now plays for Denver.

He struggled in the second round, including the drafting of cornerback Teez Tabor in 2017. At the time, Quinn said he scouted Tabor more than any other player in the draft, but he flopped in Detroit and was cut before the 2019 regular season.

Firing Quinn and Patricia leaves Hamp with major hires to make shaping the future direction of the franchise less than six months after taking over the franchise from her mother, Martha Ford.

Source link

NFL

Can Colts stem the tide if Carson Wentz, Quenton Nelson miss games? – Indianapolis Colts Blog

Published

on

WESTFIELD, Ind. – One of the Indianapolis Colts’ strongest attributes on either side of the ball is their offensive line, which is supposed to be a factor in helping quarterback Carson Wentz rebound from a disappointing 2020 season and help Indianapolis get back to the playoffs for the second straight season.

That’ll be tough to do when three of the five starting offensive linemen are out dealing with injuries, as is Wentz.

Wentz and guard Quenton Nelson joined center Ryan Kelly (elbow) and left tackle Eric Fisher (Achilles) out of action. Wentz and Nelson have basically the same foot injury that will keep them sidelined anywhere between five to 12 weeks.

There’s never a good time for injuries. And it’s really not a good time when four of the first five games are against teams that made the playoffs last season and with all five of those teams expected to push for a playoff spot this season.

Winning games over the Seahawks, Rams, Titans, Dolphins and Ravens would be tough with a healthy roster. It could end up being a brutal stretch for the Colts if those players aren’t back yet. And the reality is, there’s a chance they won’t be.

Kelly is out for a couple of weeks with his elbow injury, and there’s a chance Fisher will miss the start of the regular season while he continues to rehab from the torn Achilles he suffered last winter. The Colts, based off talks with medical officials, cast a broad net on the return timetable of Wentz and Nelson because all players recover differently.

“We were talking about it as a staff, we were talking about it individually — this is a great opportunity for our guys, for us to build depth on our team,” coach Frank Reich said. “We talk about it all the time, it’s the course of a season, so we have a good chance to evaluate all of those guys who can step in, and there is a handful of them. That’s what we’re in the process of doing, and we’ll be hopeful that [Nelson] will be back for Week 1. We don’t know, but that’s what our hope is.”

Per Caesars Sportsbook, the odds for the Colts to win the Super Bowl (25-1, 35-1), AFC (13-1, 16-1) and AFC South (-110, +170) all fell following the announcement of Wentz’s prognosis by Reich on Monday afternoon.

A lot can change over the next five weeks before the Colts host Seattle in Week 1. The Colts haven’t opened the season with a victory since 2013. But playing worst-case scenario, if Wentz, Nelson and Fisher are still out at the start of the season, the Colts potentially could struggle running the ball without their starting left guard and left tackle, and their quarterback to keep the defense honest with his arm.

The Colts’ defensive line has been having its way against the beat-up offensive line in recent days in training camp. Imagine what Seattle and Tennessee coaches Pete Carroll and Mike Vrabel can scheme to do against the Colts. Or the havoc Rams All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald is going to cause up the middle. And to make matters worse, three of the first five games are on the road for the Colts.

The Colts may need to lean more heavily on Matt Eberflus’ defense — which ranked eighth in yards allowed last season and second against the run — to keep them in games until those key players return.

Reich keeps a narrow thought process on what lies ahead. That’s why he had a long post-practice talk with his team, where he spoke with a lot of passion. The Colts started the 2018 season 1-5 and finished with a 10-6 record and a spot in the playoffs.

“I’ve been a part of some really great teams who lost great players, and it takes all of us and you to overcome it as a team, and I believe whatever card we’re dealt; however it plays out, we’ll be just fine,” Reich said.

Source link

Continue Reading

NFL

Philip Rivers says he’s ‘staying ready,’ won’t close door on possible NFL return

Published

on

Months after he announced his retirement from the NFL, former quarterback Philip Rivers says he isn’t ruling out a return.

Rivers, who retired in January after one season with the Indianapolis Colts following 16 with the San Diego and Los Angeles Chargers, told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that he is staying in shape in case a situation presents itself for a late-season stint in the NFL.

“I’m not quite there,” Rivers, 39, told the LA Times. “I’m getting back there. I wouldn’t have made weight if I had to report last week, that’s for sure. But I am getting back into the lifting and running, and shoot, I occasionally throw a ball around out here in this heat. It’s not too hard to get a good lather going.

“I’m just going to stay ready. I want to make sure I’m very clear: I’m not predicting I will play in December or January, for that matter. One, you’ve got to have somebody who wants you, and two, it’s got to be right.

“But I have not completely ruled that out.”

Rivers, a five-time Pro Bowler who ranks fifth in NFL history with 63,440 passing yards, led the Colts to the playoffs last season, throwing for 4,169 yards and 24 touchdowns. Indianapolis lost to Buffalo in an AFC wild-card game.

The Colts announced Monday that quarterback Carson Wentz will have surgery on his injured left foot and be out five to 12 weeks.

Rivers currently is in his first year as head football coach of St. Michael Catholic High School in Alabama. According to maxpreps.com, the team’s final regular-season game is scheduled for Oct. 29, two days before the Colts’ Week 8 home game against the Tennessee Titans.

Source link

Continue Reading

NFL

Minnesota Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf is concerned over players’ vaccine hesitancy; three QBs on the COVID-19 reserve list

Published

on

EAGAN, Minn. — While the Minnesota Vikings continue navigating a recent COVID-19 interruption within the quarterback room, team co-owner Mark Wilf expressed concern over vaccine hesitancy among players.

“We’re very concerned,” Wilf said. “I think it’s safe to say that our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our players, our coaches, our staff and, ultimately, the entire community. From that standpoint, we really are encouraging people to take the vaccines, to get vaccinated.

“We’re proud of the fact that we’ve partnered with the State of Minnesota to have our facility here used as a vaccination center in the offseason. We just want everybody to follow the protocols. We’re trying to educate everyone in the organization, the team, to make sure and get the vaccinations. Of course with the delta variant and other new permutations going on, we just want to make sure to preserve the health and safety. That’s the standpoint that we come from as ownership and as an organization.”

The Vikings are without quarterbacks Kellen Mond, who tested positive for COVID-19 last weekend, Kirk Cousins and Nate Stanley — the latter two were deemed high-risk close contacts and required to self-isolate for a minimum of five days. All three QBs and wide receiver Myron Mitchell were placed on the COVID-19/reserve list.

According to the NFL/NFLPA protocols, a player with the “high-risk close contact” classification designates that they are not vaccinated. Coach Mike Zimmer has been outspoken about his frustration with players who are refusing to get vaccinated and foreshadowed the stark reality the Vikings are “going to have guys miss some games, and we have to be prepared for it.”

“I talked to the team and, like I said before, there are quite a few guys that are just against it,” Zimmer said on Monday. “I’m not going to be able to change their mind, so, it’s like half the country, I guess.”

The Vikings’ vaccine hesitancy is reflected in vaccination efforts leaguewide. According to a report from The Washington Post, the Vikings have the lowest vaccination rate in the NFL, with 64.5% of players fully vaccinated and 70% in process (with at least one shot). The Washington Football Team has dealt with similar interruptions during training camp, with six players currently on the COVID-19/reserve list, but saw its vaccination rate escalate 24% in one week from 60% to 84% of its players being at least partially vaccinated, according to the report.

The NFL announced Tuesday that 90% of players across the league are either fully vaccinated or have had at least one shot. Nine teams are above 95%, and 27 teams have reached the 85% threshold.

The competitive advantage that teams with higher vaccination rates could have this season is not lost on Vikings players, coaches and ownership. On his All Things Covered podcast, cornerback Patrick Peterson noted the importance of getting vaccinated so he doesn’t put himself at risk of missing games thanks to COVID-19 protocols.

“I feel like I’m too important to this team not to get vaccinated, not miss an important game and now we possibly lose that game, and that could be the game that we needed to get into the playoffs,” Peterson said.

Wilf noted the potential for low vaccination rates to lead to a competitive disadvantage and praised Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman for the way they’ve approached the situation in Minnesota.

“The competitive side is of course concerning but, again, our focus is on health and safety,” Wilf said. “We care about the players and the team and, from that standpoint, they happen to be aligned. But the fact is, we’re encouraging vaccinations. We’re talking about a serious health pandemic, and it’s something we want to make sure that our players, our staff, our coaches, that they’re fully informed of what’s involved here. From that standpoint, I think the way Coach Zimmer and Rick Spielman and the entire football team has handled this is the right way — in terms of making sure we provide the resources, as ownership, that everyone is educated and has the opportunity to understand all the facts.”

The Vikings signed quarterbacks Case Cookus and Danny Etling on Monday after Jake Browning was Minnesota’s only quarterback available following the COVID-19 interruption. Browning is vaccinated.

Zimmer said Monday that he did not know when Mond, Cousins or Stanley would be available to return. Because Mond tested positive, his return is subject to different protocols.

According to NFL/NFLPA guidelines, a player on the COVID-19/reserve list who tests positive and is asymptomatic can return to practice 10 days after showing symptoms, or five days after initially testing positive, with two consecutive negative tests separated by 24 hours within a five-day period. Symptomatic players can return 10 days after first testing positive and at least 72 hours after their last symptoms occurred.

“It is a tough circumstance for [Mond],” offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak said. “We’ll make the best of it, keep challenging him in our virtual meetings. He’s done a great job with that, staying prepared. Mainly, I just want to make sure he’s OK. He’s got COVID — he’s sick. We’ve got to get him healthy first. But when he gets back, we’ll get him back physically. In the meantime, we can stress him mentally and make it hard for him so that it’s just all physical when he gets back.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending