The Detroit Lions had more than one candidate to fill their head-coaching opening.

Nevertheless, it was going to be difficult for someone to have anything approaching the connection that General Manager Bob Quinn had with the man he hired, former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

‘There was a much more natural feel when we were talking to Matt’

They worked together with the Patriots for 12 years, and have known each other since both arrived in New England in 2004.

“That definitely helped,” Quinn told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on Late Hits. “So going through the interview process with the other candidates, there was a much more natural feel when we were talking to Matt over those two weekends when they had their bye weeks in the playoffs. Good working relationship, good personal relationship and we’re on the same page about what kind of team we want to build here.”

‘Going back to when Matt and I first started at the Patriots together, the league’s a lot different now that it was then’

Quinn said Patricia checked all of the boxes Quinn feels are vital when hiring a coach: Intelligence, integrity, hard-working, well versed in situational football, and a working knowledge of what the NFL is about today.

“Because the league changes every year,” Quinn said. “Going back to when Matt and I first started at the Patriots together, the league’s a lot different now that it was then. So with his ability on the defensive side of the ball to adjust to what the offenses are doing nowadays was really attractive to me.

‘He has a great deal of integrity, intelligence’

“He has experience as a coach on the offensive side as well, so he’s a well-rounded coach. He has a great deal of integrity, intelligence, hard-working, really excited to get going with him.”

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