The Detroit Lions haven’t hired a new offensive coordinator yet, and all of their targets have headed elsewhere thus far. That only points to the fact that the team’s pick in the end might still be alive in the postseason, and could be a person that Matt Patricia is closely associated with from his past with the New England Patriots. Arguably, the best name that fits this description could be Chad O’Shea, the Patriots’ wide receivers coach.
There hasn’t been any confirmation of O’Shea’s potential candidacy in Detroit, but it’s the one move that would make plenty of sense and a big reason the Lions could have passed on making a more immediate hire with other targets. Other options do exist in the form of Shane Waldron and Aaron Kromer of the Los Angeles Rams and Mike Kafka of the Kansas City Chiefs, but none could make as much sense or be as deserving of the role than O’Shea.
Patricia, O’Shea and Bob Quinn have cut their teeth together in New England. Three years before he was promoted, Patricia coached linebackers the year O’Shea was hired in 2009 to coach receivers, and Quinn became the assistant director of pro personnel that same year. Much like Patricia and Quinn worked closely together, it would be easy to see O’Shea being a key part of the mix as well. A guy who has bounced around the league before finding a soft landing in New England, O’Shea is highly regarded as a person and a coach, and someone who could now make a seamless fit to play caller in the right situation.
Last year, when Josh McDaniels was figured to be leaving for a head coaching job, O’Shea was mentioned as a possible successor in a piece by Kevin Duffy of MassLive.com. Indeed, McDaniels credited O’Shea for plenty of New England’s offensive success on the field. Here’s what Duffy wrote:
“But make no mistake: O’Shea is a leading candidate to replace McDaniels as New England’s next offensive coordinator.
Widely respected within the organization, O’Shea has coached more than just the receivers in recent years.
“Chad’s unbelievable,” McDaniels said. “He’s incredibly responsible for any and all of our success in the red zone. He does a lot of that work and prepares us well for that situation in the game.”
Said Pats receiver Chris Hogan: “I love playing for Chad. He brings a lot of passion to the game and to this team.”
Though the Patriots never had to worry about McDaniels leaving last offseason in the end, it’s clear O’Shea would have been in the mix to replace him, and someone Bill Belichick was comfortable leaning on for that role. Numerous Patriots wideouts have echoed Hogan’s sentiments from Duffy’s piece, crediting O’Shea with their rise. With McDaniels looking locked in for a while in New England, it’s possible O’Shea could want to advance his career, and the Lions could be the perfect place for him to do just that.
At quarterback, the Lions have Matthew Stafford, a player with immense talent the organization has admitted needs more support. They’ve got two top young wideouts in Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay, and a young running back that could be a future star in Kerryon Johnson. They also have the potential to spruce things up and add more playmakers and depth for the future, meaning the ceiling is high, and there is a great deal of appeal given O’Shea could put his complete stamp on an offense he could call his own.
If there’s anyone who could run the type of offense Patricia wants, it’s someone like O’Shea, who has a deep understanding of concepts from his time in New England. While things have been quiet in Detroit’s hunt for their next play caller, there could be a reason, and it could be as simple as an obvious connection with O’Shea that’s yet to come.