Patriots HC Bill Belichick commented on former assistant Matt Patricia being fired by Detroit.
The laundry list of glorified Bill Belichick assistants who branched out only to be fired at their next stop added another member last week when former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was canned by Detroit after the Lions’ Thanksgiving Day loss to the Houston Texans.
In almost three full seasons as Lions head coach, Patricia finished 16 games below .500 (13-29-1), seemingly making reservations at the basement of the NFC North each year while amassing an impossible -194 point differential during that span.
Well, with Patricia back on the coaching market, Belichick was asked during his latest media session if he would consider a reunion with his former longtime assistant. The 68-year-old was predictably short of words, but the extent to which he deflected the question really speaks volumes to how much of a mess Patricia’s coaching tenure in Detroit was.
"“Collectively as a staff, I think our defensive coaches really work well together,” Belichick told reporters. “They all have a lot of responsibility. They all have a lot of input. They’ve done a good job since Matt left, certainly in ‘18 and ‘19. This year has had some challenges, but I think from a coaching standpoint the defensive coaches have done a good job.”"
In retrospect, it makes sense why Belichick was asked this question. After all, Patriots fans will be quick to remember that he brought back offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels after his first head coaching experience went up in flames in relatively short order, so there is a bit of precedent here.
However, that mostly came down to the fact that Belichick was never considered an offensive guru. His speciality has always been on the defensive side of the ball and he’s long been an admirer of McDaniels’ philosophy.
With Patricia, it’s an entirely different story. For starters, the Lions defense imploded after his arrival and never showed signs of improvement, ranking 31st and 29th in the NFL in total yards allowed per game over the last two seasons.
New England’s defense, meanwhile was elite in 2018 before morphing into an historically-dominant group last season. The unit has taken a sizable step back this year, but that was to be expected given free agency departures and player opt outs. Even still, they rank a respectable 12th in the league with 23.3 points allowed per game.
Though now-Dolphins head coach Brian Flores took over play-calling duties after Patricia left, the Patriots opted against appointing a new defensive coordinator. Fans shouldn’t trick themselves into thinking that Belichick was saving it for his former sidekick.
His firing was long overdue and Belichick’s response to the news proves that.