ALLEN PARK — When the Lions hired Matt Patricia as the new head coach, it had to be a good match both ways.
It certainly helps that Lions general manager Bob Quinn and Patricia worked together for a dozen years with the New England Patriots.
“My meeting with Bob and Rod (Wood) I felt very comfortable, I felt immediately when I walked in the room things just clicked on the same level,’’ Patricia said at his introductory press conference on Wednesday.
“Ideas, philosophies, the way you wanted an organization or a football team to be run — the mentality behind it was similar. I know Bob’s and my working relationship has been outstanding … My comfort level with Bob was huge in all of this,’’ Patricia added.
That comfort level was a huge factor, but it was not the only reason the decision was made. Five reasons Patricia was hired the Lions:
1. Quinn said they set out to find a head coach who had five characteristics: Integrity, leadership, intellect, work ethic and innovativeness. Patricia hit the mark with all five. Quinn characterized it as a “seamless” interview. In fact, Quinn and team president interviewed him twice in Massachusetts — once prior to the playoffs and once during the Super Bowl bye week. Patricia was one of five candidates they interviewed.
2. Patricia and Quinn do not want to recreate the “Patriot Way” in Detroit. “I think it’s hard to categorize ‘a way’ in general. Bob and I have a lot of experience and history together. We believe in a lot of the same things as far as when you look at and evaluate players, how a team should be run, how it should be coached,’’ Patricia said. “There’s a great background we both share. And a common ground as how we both envision a team being run. … When you’ve had success you can start to call it the ‘Lions way.”’
3. Quinn said the interviews validated what he thought of Patricia. “Overall Matt’s answers really were just aligned with what I believe in and what I really believe will take us to that next level,’’ Quinn said. “Going through the interview process with other candidates, I didn’t know all of those guys personally, I knew a few of them. The 12 years we worked together — a lot of long hours, long drives to look at players, long conversations late at night about players, how would you do this, how did this guy play, can this guy fit in this scheme. … The interview process was really seamless. It was like we were back in his office talking football again.’’
4. Quinn said he didn’t have to sell Patricia on coming to Detroit for his first head coaching job. Quinn said the organization sells itself. “It starts with Mrs. Ford and her family, the support they give us is incredible. When we talk about going into a situation and trying to build a team and trying to build the organization back to where we want it, those are the easy selling points. I didn’t have to sell Matt on much,’’ Quinn said.
5. Their goal is the same. “Matt and I want to win now but we’re going to win the right way. We’re going to build from what we have currently and hopefully improve the roster every year, every day, every week, every draft, every free agent period til we get where we want to be,’’ Quinn said. “We’re not putting timelines or timetables on when we’re going to win what, but we have great aspirations of what we want to do with this organization.’’