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Ranking 8 Coaches That Could Replace Matt Patricia

Read more on the eight names the Lions should consider to replace Matt Patricia as head coach

The clock is ticking on the tenure of Matt Patricia in Detroit. 

The consensus from fans and pundits alike is that the Lions' 41-25 loss to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving should've been the final nail in the coffin for the third-year head coach. 

If it indeed was, here is my ranking of the eight names the organization should consider to replace him. 

8.) Lions special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs 

As Detroit's special teams coordinator, he's been the leader of the team's best performing unit in 2020. 

While he might not be ready yet for the step up to head coach at the NFL level, at only 34 years old, he should be a candidate for years to come for other openings.

7.) L.A. Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell 

If you know L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay, you're in good hands. 

Two of his former offensive assistants in Matt LaFleur and Zac Taylor were hired by the Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals, respectively, in 2019 to be head coaches. 

So, it should bode well for O'Connell's chances of landing a head coaching position one day. 

However, with the names ahead of him on this list that possess stronger accolades, I don't think it's going to happen for him in Detroit.

6.) Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore 

The former Lions backup quarterback -- who spent time in Detroit from 2012-14 -- has carved out an impressive career for himself as an assistant with the Cowboys. 

While things haven't been as fruitful in Big D in 2020 without Dak Prescott under center, it won't soon be forgotten that Moore played an active role in Prescott's 30-touchdown, 4,902-yard passing campaign a year ago. 

He made such a big impact that first-year Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy decided to retain him from his predecessor Jason Garrett's staff. 

If the Lions go into the offseason with the intention of Matthew Stafford being their starting quarterback next season, it should only enhance the chances of the organization targeting Moore to fill its head coaching vacancy.

5.) Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady 

The mastermind behind the success of Joe Burrow and LSU's air attack during its national championship run a year ago is presently in his first season as the Carolina Panthers' offensive coordinator. 

Veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, in his first year as a full-time starter since 2015, has enjoyed success with Brady calling the shots. 

Through 10 games in 2020, Bridgewater is completing a career-high 72.1 percent of his passes, and is averaging a career-best 255.2 yards per game through the air. It's translated to a career-best 72.2 QBR for the 28-year-old. 

Additionally, Brady has proven that he can win with a backup quarterback leading his offense. 

XFL alum P.J. Walker started in place of the injured Bridgewater in Week 11, and completed over 70 percent of his passes (70.6 percent) en route to beating none other than Patricia's Lions.

Although Detroit's defense clearly could use the most help, the Lions could use a shot in the arm offensively, as well, and Brady could be just what the doctor ordered.

4.) Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell


If he doesn't first end up at the University of Michigan as the replacement for Jim Harbaugh, why not entertain the idea of hiring Campbell to replace Patricia? 

Campbell, who is set to turn 41 on Sunday, is one of the most sought-after coaches at the collegiate level, and has also generated some recent NFL buzz. 

Campbell, in nine full seasons as a college head coach and with two programs in Toledo and currently Iowa State, has recorded only one losing season, which came in his first year on the job at Iowa State in 2016. 

Since 2017, he's gone 30-18, and has built the Cyclones into a nationally relevant program. 

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The program's latest accomplishment under his watch was beating Texas Friday, which marked a school-record seventh Big 12 win this season. 

With the victory, the Cyclones also clinched at least a share of the Big 12 regular season championship. 

If Campbell & Co. reach the Big 12 championship game and win, it'll not only mark the Cyclones' first Big 12 title in school history but also the school's first conference championship since 1912.

Fair to say, Campbell won't likely be calling Ames, Iowa, home for much longer, whether it's because of another college program hiring him away or an NFL franchise, like the Lions, doing so. 

3.) Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley 

As the head coach of the Sooners, Riley's the leader of one of college football's traditional powers. 

In his fourth year now at Oklahoma, he's won 84 percent of his games (42-8), and has led the Sooners to College Football Playoff appearances in each of the past three seasons. 

He's also mentored present NFL quarterbacks Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts. 

He seems more than ready for the jump to the NFL, and in a QB-driven league, he'd be a home-run hire for the Lions.

2.) Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy

The Chiefs' offensive play-caller would be another big get for Detroit.

He's helped Patrick Mahomes blossom into arguably the best quarterback in the league, and he could do wonders for a Lions offense that has lacked creativity in 2020.

It also doesn't hurt that he's basically been the understudy of Kansas City head man Andy Reid since becoming the team's OC in 2018. Prior to that, he served as the Chiefs' running backs coach from 2013-17.

If the Lions don't snatch him up this offseason, someone else likely will. 

1.) San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh

Saleh would be an instant fan favorite in the Motor City, as a result of his Dearborn, Mich., roots.

Most importantly, he would bring a strong defensive pedigree to a team that is direly lacking an identity on defense.

During the 49ers' NFC championship campaign a year ago, he oversaw a defense that ranked second in the NFL in total yards allowed per game (281.8) -- the fewest total yards allowed per game by the franchise since 1997.

In 2019, San Francisco also ranked first in the league in passing yards allowed per contest (169.2) -- the fewest passing yards allowed a game since the 2009 N.Y. Jets (153.7).

For his efforts, Saleh was named the Sporting News' 2019 Coordinator of the Year.

It'd be very fitting if he came home for his first NFL head coaching position.

More from SI All Lions:

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