The Detroit Lions and the Houston Texans are both led into today's 11:30 a.m. Thanksgiving festival by head coaches in limbo.
The Texans are 3-7 and coming off a feel-good win over the Patriots that puts the record of interim coach Romeo Crennel at 3-3. That's "feel-good,'' too - though surely not feel-good enough to support the silly notion that Crennel will return as the head coach in 2021.
The Lions are 4-6 and the feeling is not good, as they were shut out in yet another loss on the record of embattled coach Matt Patricia, who seems to be on the hottest of seats in Motown.
“At the end of the day, everybody’s job is in jeopardy," Lions safety Duron Harmon said. “This is a production-based business. You win, you get a pat on the back, and you get job security. You lose, you don’t have job security.”
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Very true - though the two clubs that meet at Ford Field might, in terms of their head coaches, take a different angle when it comes to coaching jeopardy.
What Detroit leans on today: Tradition. The Lions have hosted a Thanksgiving football game every season since 1934 — with the exception of 1939-1944 due to World War II. Yet ... they hold a 37-41-2 record on Turkey Day, and they've lost their last three games (and are 3-point underdogs today).
Also problematic for the Lions: running back D’Andre Swift, listed as questionable for today due to a concussion, is reportedly unlikely to play.
The Texans, buoyed by the play of QB Deshaun Watson and defensive lineman J.J. Watt, know they have an interim leader - and find the 73-year-old Crennel to be a beloved figure after the franchise fired coach and general manager Bill O'Brien after his 0-4.
There does not seem to be much love for Patricia, though, who as it happens was with Crennel as coaches on Bill Belichick’s staff in New England for one season in 2004.
“We could get together and cry in the same bucket because this is a tough business we’re in," Crennel said.
The Lions and the Texans are indeed in the same business. But their head coaches are in a different sort of "jeopardy.''