A ‘players’ head coach.
The Detroit Lions need to try and right the ship in a big way. The franchise hired a drill sergeant in Matt Patricia after dismissing a players-type coach in Jim Caldwell. Caldwell had been released after producing back-to-back 9-7 seasons in favor of the New England cast away.
Maybe Caldwell would not have been able to lead the Detroit Lions to the promised land, but he was a head coach players’ would go to war for, something that can’t be said about Patricia. Not only did Patricia’s toxic energy and attitude destroy the Lions’ locker room, it clearly stunt-the-growth of the entire organization.
The Detroit Lions need to build a new culture, and it starts from the top. Detroit will have an opportunity to land one of the leagues’ top assistants, and first on the list should be Dearborn’s own Robert Saleh.
Saleh is becoming a defensive genius. He’s somehow maintained a top-ten defense despite not having the 49ers’ top players at his disposal, including one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL in Nick Bosa.
In San Francisco’s Super Bowl run last season, with Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, Solomon Thomas, all healthy, Saleh let his front four generate pressure without blitzing. The 49ers created the leagues’ most pressure, rarely blitzing.
During the 2020 season, it’s been the opposite; Saleh has been forced to call a defense minus everyone mentioned above at various times understanding Buckner had been traded this past offseason. The others have all missed significant time this season, along with Tartt and Sherman, forcing Saleh to blitz nearly 35% of the time, which ranks near the top in the league to generate pressure, all the while maintaining an NFL top-ten defense.
The often energetic Saleh would be a great hire for the Detroit Lions. Other options to follow are Cheifs OC, Eric Bieniemy, and Panthers OC Joe Brady.