On April 20th, 2023, the Eagles hired Matt Patricia as a senior defensive assistant. Patricia served as senior football advisor and assistant O-line coach for the New England Patriots during the 2022-2023 season. Eventually, Patricia was promoted to assistant offensive coordinator. The Patriots relieved Patricia of his duties in this role after a season in which the Patriots averaged just 18.1 offensive points per game.

The Eagles hope to get the Patricia celebrated as a defensive genius. Under Patricia’s guidance as defensive coordinator from 2012-2017, the Patriots won Super Bowls XLIX and LI. Despite Patricia’s defensive success with the Patriots, it is unclear how much of Patricia’s success is his own.

This is the case for many in current Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick’s coaching tree. Upon leaving the Patriots after the 2017-18 season to pursue the Detroit Lions head coach job, Patricia found little success. He started the 2017-18 NFL season 0-2 before getting his first win as an NFL head coach against Belichick’s Patriots. The rest of the way, the Lions went just 5-8. Patricia finished the 2018-19 season at 6-10, regressing from the Lions’ record of 9-7 the previous season. In 2019, Patricia finished even worse. The Lions finished 3-12-1, with signs of further regression. Despite these warning signs, Lions’ ownership decided to keep Patricia as head coach. They wanted him to have a chance to demonstrate improvement. Patricia did not. He went 4-7 before getting fired midway through the 2020-21 NFL season.

Patricia, in January 2021, returned to the Patriots as senior football advisor after being fired by the Lions’ organization. Patricia retreated to Belichick as soon as it was determined by the Lions’ organization at least that he would not have much success as a head coach. In July 2022, Patricia maintained his position of senior football advisor and took over the position of offensive line coach. His role extended to calling offensive plays, which he struggled with for much of the 2022-23 NFL season. Patricia was ultimately rescinded of his offensive play-calling duties after the Patriots’ offense put up dismal numbers in the 2022-23 NFL season. This role, though, did not seem to fit Patricia’s keen defensive mind best. 

Despite Patricia’s poor performance of late, the Eagles’ front office seems to believe that placing Patricia as a senior defensive assistant will allow him to utilize his most valuable asset: his sharp defensive mind. Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni has said of Patricia, “Obviously, his résumé speaks for itself. It gives you a great mind in there that’s done it at the highest level… It gives you a great ability to bounce ideas off of with the defensive staff, and also gives me another former head coach that I can bounce ideas off of as well with things which I think would be very helpful.” However, the Eagles’ move to hire Patricia has been questioned primarily because of Patricia’s rocky relationship with current Eagles’ cornerback Darius Slay Jr. 

Darius Slay Jr. was a member of the Detroit Lions when Matt Patricia was the head coach. Though Slay believes Patricia knows his Xs and Os, he does not appreciate the disrespect Patricia shows toward his players. As Slay told MassLive.com, “He basically just said, ‘You are not in [the Richard Sherman or Aqib Talib] category yet.’ At that time, I only had one Pro Bowl, but now I’m at five, so I want to know how he feels about that now. I don’t wish bad on him, but as a man, [he and I] just don’t get along. He’s a smart coach, he knows his Xs and O’s, but the disrespect is not what I’m with.”

The dynamic between Patricia and Slay makes many skeptical of the Eagles’ decision to hire Patricia as a senior defensive assistant. Though Sirianni talked to Slay prior to the hire, the bad relationship between Slay and Patricia will likely complicate matters. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out this season. 

Featured Image: Philly Voice

One Comment

  1. Jo Mama

    April 26, 2023 at 11:00 PM

    Excellent job on your first blog! Go Eagles! Good luck to Mr. Patricia. Let’s see our Eagles win the Super Bowl!

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