I am not one who is on the bandwagon to get rid of Matt Patricia.
To me, he is the most brilliant coach to ever come out from under Belichick.
Yes, I still say that. Yes, I still believe in Matt Patricia.
In fact, if I took over as the GM, I would keep him as my coach.
Matt Patricia is the kind of coach who, if fired, will resurface somewhere else, and the Lions will end up kicking themselves down the road.
However, I have been tasked with naming three candidates from the college ranks who I think would be a good fit, if the Lions do indeed make a move.
Without further ado, here are the three names I would have on my list.
If you cannot get Bill Belichick himself, the next best thing is the most successful coach in college football, Alabama's Nick Saban.
Every conversation has got to begin with Saban.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I remember what happened with the Dolphins. But, let us not forget also what happened to Belichick during his first go-around in Cleveland/Baltimore.
Pete Carroll comes to mind, too, from his days with the N.Y. Jets and New England Patriots.
If the Lions do indeed go shopping, offer Saban full control -- he's earned it.
Make him the GM/head coach, give him a blank check and say thank you every day and twice on Sundays.
It would be a seamless transition for the roster, too, since both Patricia and Saban came up under Belichick.
The roster would also believe in Saban, because of who he is -- which is a big part of the battle. He's garnered multiple AP Coach of the Year and SEC Coach of the Year awards.
I mean, heck, once upon a time, even Josh McDaniels was a graduate assistant under Saban.
Among the notable players he has recruited and coached includes Julio Jones, Mark Ingram (Heisman winner), Dont’a Hightower, Trent Richardson, Dre Kirkpatrick, A.J. McCarron, Landon Collins, Amari Cooper, Derrick Henry (Heisman winner), Cam Robinson and Jonathan Allen.
Saban knows talent. He knows the game. He's a winner.
Plan and simple, Saban could put Detroit on the map.
If and when you have a chance to go out and get one of the greats, you go get him. Do not overthink it. Do not make the same mistake the Jets made with Belichick, before his second go-around as a head coach with the Patriots.
I do not know if Saban will be interested. But, at 67 years old, he has accomplished just about everything, except achieving redemption from what happened during his failed head coaching stint with the Dolphins.
Saban’s ego might bring him to the table, too.
The greats love a challenge, and something tells me he would love to line up one more time against his old boss in Belichick.
With the countdown to Christmas now in full swing, if I am making a list and checking it twice, my second name would be Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.
To this day, far and away, one of the most bizarre situations I have witnessed is when Harbaugh got fired from the San Francisco 49ers because of a clash with then-San Francisco GM Trent Baalke, after going 44-19-1 and making a Super Bowl appearance in four years as 49ers head man.
Harbaugh was a winner in the NFL, both as a coach (coach of the year in 2011) and as a quarterback (NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1995).
He was drafted out of Michigan by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft by Mike Ditka.
When you come up under Ditka, you understand football.
Harbaugh is a football coach.
He even looks like a throwback.
The NFL is like riding a bicycle, and Harbaugh can get right back on that bike and start peddling.
It would be a good hire.
Correction, it would be a dynamite hire, and Harbaugh has strong Michigan roots, too.
My third name on the list would be Mullen, the present head coach of the Florida Gators, because of his relationship with Dak Prescott.
Prescott, by the way, would look really good playing in silver and blue. And no, not for the Cowboys. But, rather for the Lions.
I do not think Prescott will be back in Dallas.
If Jerry Jones would not ink a healthy Prescott to a long-term deal, I can not see him breaking the bank for an iffy Prescott.
As my NFL mentor taught me, “If you have a quarterback, you have a chance." And outside of Mahomes and Watson, I would take Prescott in a New York minute.
Prescott brings instant leadership, maturity and stability to a team like few can.
I evaluated Prescott last season extensively, and gave him an “A” blue-chip grade.
He is a franchise QB who, under normal circumstances, would probably never be able to be courted by the Lions. But, given the injury, it just might now be possible.
Mullen would be a big part of that courting process, given the fact they were together at Mississippi State.
I like the Mullen/Prescott Detroit ticket.
And after Matthew Stafford’s wife’s latest social media rant, there just might be a "help wanted" sign hanging from the starting quarterback’s locker sooner rather than later.
I can see this tandem in Detroit coming together. It would be a very interesting situation, and would be fun to watch.
Prescott would bring a level of stability the team has not had. Additionally, now he has something to prove - - one more big reason to bring this duo together.
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