And they have deep ties to Josh McDaniels, the Patriots offensive coordinator who spurned the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday to remain in New England instead of becoming the Colts’ next coach.
Patricia, who was busy dealing with his own transition from the Patriots to the Lions in the same hours that McDaniels went from heading to the Colts to not, said he had not spoken with McDaniels as of Wednesday evening.
And he really didn’t know what to say.
His new boss, Quinn, though, said he was surprised that McDaniels ended up backing out on the Colts. Instead of blaming McDaniels, though, he looked at the broader spectrum of the NFL.
The current NFL policy is that a team cannot officially hire a coach until the season has ended for the team he is coming from. In many cases, such as Detroit with Patricia, that leads to weeks of waiting instead of streamlining the process.
“Yeah. I mean, it goes back to the rule, which is a really horrible rule for everybody involved, the candidates, both sides of teams,” Quinn told ESPN on Wednesday night. “The team that’s playing, the team that’s not playing. For you guys. It’s just, it is, it’s silly. I think you know this, they had a proposal on the table last March to change it and the league decided to table it for no one knows why.
“Every team that I spoke to was ready to vote for it and we got up to vote on the things and we got to that one and it’s tabled. You can’t, that’s what happens at league meetings, you can’t argue with that.”
Lions team president Rod Wood also said he would be in favor of seeing the rule changed.
It leads to awkward conversations like what happened at the Super Bowl, when Patricia deflected every question he was asked about becoming the Lions’ head coach.
As far as McDaniels, he was not part of Detroit’s search at all. And he wasn’t even on Quinn’s list of five.
“We wanted to get the first five completed that first week and Matt was the last guy we met with that first week, whatever that weekend of the first bye that we went to,” Quinn said. “At that point in time, I felt really strongly that Matt was going to be my lead guy. By the time we had that second window to interview, I kind of had narrowed it down to Matt.
“So I know Josh, have a great deal of respect for him. Just felt that in our situation, Matt was more what we needed.”
While McDaniels was the hottest topic around the Patriots -- and the NFL -- the past few days, Patricia also had some questions to answer after his defense struggled against Philadelphia in the Super Bowl, allowing Nick Foles to have an MVP performance.
Patricia didn’t want to get into any specifics of what happened against the Eagles, but admitted that, yes, he re-watched the game.
“I went through all of it. Yeah, you know what, I think, for me, I’m not going to dive into all that,” Patricia said. “I’m going to let the Patriots handle that and kind of their business there. I would say, for myself, what I said right after the game is always going to take it. I think that’s most important to me, that I make sure my players are prepared to play and ready to go and they can handle and play well out on the field.
“And when we lose, you know, as being in charge of whatever side of the ball it is, look, that’s my responsibility and that’s my responsibility to do whatever I can to help us win whatever the situation is.”
Patricia wouldn’t get into what he wished he would have done differently against Philadelphia, either, saying that every game -- win or lose -- there are plays that are going to bother him. Said “that’s just kind of me,” something confirmed in a story Tully Banta-Cain recalled from his time with the Patriots, when he said Patricia got on him hard after he had a sack. Banta-Cain couldn’t understand why until Patricia explained how he operates.
One of the biggest questions from the Super Bowl was also New England’s usage -- or lack thereof -- of cornerback Malcolm Butler. Patricia also declined to answer anything about Butler, including whether or not one of the changes he would have made would have been playing Butler more.
Butler, New England’s top cornerback this season, played special teams primarily against the Eagles.
“Those are good questions for the Patriots,” Patricia said. “I’m just going to steer away from all that.”
Instead, Patricia focused mostly on issues surrounding the Lions on Wednesday -- and soon enough questions about that will come.