Sat Nov 28 5:23pm ET
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
Matt Patricia opened his final postgame news conference with the Detroit Lions by thanking his wife and children for their support.
Patricia probably knew what was coming.
His boss, general manager Bob Quinn, might not have expected the same fate.
The Lions fired Patricia and Quinn, who hired the coach to replace Jim Caldwell, and effectively ended the franchise's attempt to replicate the success the men helped Bill Belichick achieve in New England.
The moves were made Saturday, surprising no one.
''It clearly wasn't working,'' Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp said on a Zoom call with reporters.
The duo joins a long list of general managers and coaches that failed to help the franchise win over the last several decades.
Since Detroit won the 1957 NFL title, it has won only one playoff game - and that was way back on Jan. 5, 1992.
''We can't hide our past, that's for sure,'' said Hamp, who succeeded her mother in June to lead the franchise her late father bought in 1963. ''But I'm very dedicated to turning this ship around and really making a difference.''
Darrell Bevell, who has 14 seasons of experience as an offensive coordinator, will be the team's interim coach for the final five games. The general manager's duties will be handled on an interim basis by Kyle O'Brien, Lance Newmark, Rob Lohman and Mike Disner, all of whom worked for Quinn in the team's front office.
This season, the Lions (4-7) lost consecutive games for the third time and it cost Quinn and Patricia their jobs. Detroit collapsed in a 41-25 loss to Houston at home on Thursday after getting shut out for the first time in 11 years in the previous game at Carolina.
''I'm just really appreciative of my family, my wife, my kids,'' Patricia said Thursday before taking questions from reporters on a Zoom call. ''My wife does a lot behind the scenes and from that standpoint I appreciate her a lot.''
The setbacks dropped Patricia to 13-29-1 in two-plus seasons and Quinn's mark fell 12 games under .500 over five seasons. The most recent losses led to the end of their careers with the Lions.
''Ten days ago, we looked like we had a good chance to be playoff bound and both of those games were extremely disappointing,'' Hamp said. ''Yes, we thought it was a good time to make a change.''
Quinn, who was part of the Patriots' personnel department for 16 years, was given his first shot to run an NFL front office in January 2016. He retained Caldwell and Detroit reached the playoffs but then fired him the next season after another 9-7 record wasn't enough to earn a spot in the postseason.
When Quinn let Caldwell go with a 36-28 record over four seasons and an 0-2 mark in the playoffs, he said the move was made to find a coach to take the team to the next level.
Patricia did that, but it wasn't the level he or Quinn needed to stay employed in the Motor City.
Detroit was 6-10 under Patricia in 2018, won just three games last season and was barely better this year.
Patricia was on Belichick's staff for 14 seasons, including six years as defensive coordinator, before Quinn gave him his first shot to be a head coach at any level. Patricia was incessantly peppered with questions about his job being in jeopardy, dating to the 2019 season, and refused to engage in the conversation with reporters.
Hamp said nearly a year ago that Quinn and Patricia were retained with an expectation that the team contend for the playoffs in 2020.
''I meant what I said last December and I still mean it,'' Hamp said. ''Things were not going well.''
Five Hot Plays: Week 12
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (hamstring) has been activated and is cleared to play in Sunday's contest against Buffalo. Ekeler's return coincides with Kalen Ballage (ankle) earning a questionable designation, which could lead to Ekeler getting additional touches in his first game since Week 4. Having proven to be an integral cog in the Los Angeles offense, Ekeler is worthy of starting in nearly all season-long formats, even as he carries some risk due to possible snap count limitations after an extended layoff. The Bills Defense has allowed the sixth-most rushing yards (1,069) to opposing running backs during 2020, working in Ekeler's favor. Those hanging onto Ballage in season-long formats can begin to explore contingency options.
The Denver Broncos could have an extremely unique scenario on their hands for Sunday's game against New Orleans. After quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, and Blake Bortles -- the three active quarterbacks the team has under contract -- were all sent home from the team facility Saturday due to concerns over contact tracing. The turnaround ahead of kickoff Sunday does not portend to work in Denver's favor if none of their QBs are given the green light to take the field. Even if Lock is cleared to suit up, he'll have to face a stout Saints Defense, making him a risky season-long or DFS asset. Check back ahead of kickoff to get the final word on Denver's QB room and how it'll proceed.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry has an excellent matchup on tap against the Bills in Week 12. Buffalo allows the third-most fantasy points per game and the fourth-most red zone targets per game to opposing tight ends, making this a smash spot for Henry. The veteran tight end has hauled in a touchdown reception in two straight games and has a great chance of making it three in a game against Buffalo with an over/under of 52.5. Henry should be started with confidence in Week 12.
The New England Patriots will place starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn (knee) on Injured Reserve on Saturday, according to a league source. The Patriots will be without him for at least the next three games as a result. Wynn injured his knee late in the fourth quarter of the Week 11 loss to the Texans. It could be a devastating blow to an offensive line that has been one of the team's best units this year. Four-year veteran Jermaine Eluemunor, rookie Justin Herron or left guard Joe Thuney could replace Wynn on quarterback Cam Newton's blind side. Nose tackle Carl Davis (concussion) and running back Rex Burkhead (knee) are also going on IR, with Burkhead done for the year. Wynn's injury will be a slight downgrade to Newton moving forward, but he's still in the low-end QB1 picture this weekend against the Cardinals.
The Detroit Lions fired head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn on Saturday. It comes after the Lions lost to the Texans on Thanksgiving on Thursday by a score of 41-25 to fall to 4-7 on the season and in last place in the NFC North. Patricia's three-year tenure with the team didn't go very well at all, with Detroit becoming the first team to blow four straight double-digit leads in his time with the team. With the moves, the Lions are staring at a rebuild for the first time since they took quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick in 2009. Quinn arrived in Detroit two years earlier than Patricia. Patricia's defense, which was supposed to be his specialty, really struggled in 2019 and so far in 2020.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams will take on the Bills in Week 12. Williams has been one of the league's best deep threats, averaging 16.9 average targeted air yards per game, good for third in the NFL. The veteran wideout has three touchdown catches of 20 yards or more this season. With the Chargers as underdogs in a game with an over/under of 52.5, there could be a lot of scoring. Quarterback Justin Herbert hasn't shied away from slinging it downfield to Williams and could be aggressive in this contest, particularly if playing from behind. Williams is a good flex play for those who need upside.
The Indianapolis Colts reached an agreement with run-stuffing defensive tackle Grover Stewart on a three-year, $30.75 million contract extension on Saturday, according to multiple league sources with knowledge of the negotiations. The deal includes $20 million guaranteed and up to $1 million in performance bonuses. The 27-year-old was on the final year of his rookie deal but has been a breakout star for an imposing Colts Defense in 2020. In 10 games this year, Stewart has 36 tackles, including four for a loss. The former fourth-round pick isn't an IDP force, but he certainly has made Indy's defensive line a force to be reckoned with. He'll need to step up in Week 12 to help stop Titans running back Derrick Henry with DeForest Buckner out due to COVID-19.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen is red-hot heading into a Week 12 matchup with the Bills. Allen had an astonishing, career-high 16 receptions on 19 targets last week and has been a target hog all year, as he's averaged 11.2 looks per game. The 28-year-old has one of the highest floors in fantasy football right now and could give his fantasy managers another look at his ceiling this week. The matchup against the Bills isn't a smash spot, but Allen's volume and talent make him a virtual lock to finish among the top-12 at his position. Plus, this game features two teams with strong offenses and suspect defenses, making a shootout likely. There's the upside for another WR1 overall finish.
New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead and left guard Andrus Peat (concussion) will not play in Week 12 against the Broncos. Armstead tested positive for COVID-19, according to sources. This probably would've had more of an effect on pocket quarterback Drew Brees, but this is bad news regardless for the Saints offensive line, quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Alvin Kamara against a Broncos defensive line that has performed above expectations in 2020, considering some of the key losses they've had due to injuries. Hill will have a tougher time against Denver, but he should still be considered a low-end QB1 for his rushing prowess. Kamara has been one of the best fantasy backs all season long and should remain locked into starting lineups as long as he's healthy, although Hill could take away some rushing opportunities.
Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (thumb) has been downgraded from questionable to doubtful for Week 12 against the Jets. It will be veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick getting the start on Sunday. Tagovailoa jammed his thumb against a helmet in practice on Wednesday and has been limited this week. The Dolphins just don't want to take any chances with their franchise quarterback. The matchup is a great one against the winless Jets, so Fitzpatrick will be on the QB2 streaming radar in superflex leagues. If anything, the move to Fitz should help wide receiver DeVante Parker. The 38-year-old journeyman QB went 18-for-27 for 191 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in the first meeting with New York back in Week 6.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Kalen Ballage (ankle, calf) is questionable ahead of a matchup with an underachieving Bills' defense. Ballage appears to have a good chance of playing after logging limited practice sessions all week. He hasn't looked all that impressive as a runner but has a stranglehold on the Chargers' backfield, as he's averaged 21 touches per contest over the last three games. That's a borderline RB1 workload that the coaching staff is trusting the 24-year old with. Of course, this could all change if Austin Ekeler (hamstring) returns in Week 12. If Ekeler is out, play Ballage as an RB2, albeit one with risk of re-injury. If Ekeler goes, he'll be an RB2 and will bump Ballage into flex territory, as Los Angeles isn't likely to give the former a heavy workload in his return.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert gets a favorable matchup in Week 12 against the Bills. Buffalo has surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing signal-callers and has allowed a QB1 finish in each of their last two contests. Herbert, fantasy football's QB7 this year, has thrown for at least 250 yards and two touchdowns in six of his last seven games. The over/under is currently 52.5 for the game, making this one of the most appealing for fantasy purposes on Sunday's slate. Fire up Herbert as a strong QB1 in all fantasy formats.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner has tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple sources. Conner is awaiting a second test on Sunday to confirm the results, and the Steelers will continue contact tracing. Fantasy managers will have to scramble for other options with Conner likely out for Week 12 against the Ravens on Tuesday night. If the game against Baltimore is played on Tuesday, Benny Snell Jr. should be the Steelers primary back, with Anthony McFarland Jr. sprinkled in. Inclement weather is expected, too, so Pittsburgh could lean heavily on the ground game, giving Snell some RB2 potential, albeit in a tough matchup with the Ravens Defense. Run to the waiver wire and add Snell immediately if you need RB help. Conner could miss multiple games if he indeed tested positive for COVID-19.
Indianapolis Colts rookie running back Jonathan Taylor has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and is out for Week 12 against the Titans. The Colts also downgraded center Ryan Kelly (neck) to out, while cornerback Isaiah Rodgers (knee) is now questionable. It's unknown if Taylor actually tested positive for the virus, but either way he won't play against Tennessee. It's a tough break for the rookie, who was coming off a nice 22-carry, 90-yard performance against the Packers. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins should share backfield duties with Taylor now out. Hines will be a borderline RB2, especially in PPR setups, while Wilkins should be considered an RB3/flex against a Titans Defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs in 2020.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant tweeted that he has signed to the team's 53-man active roster. Bryant reverted back to the team's practice squad after the Week 11 overtime loss to the Titans, but he's back on the roster again for the Week 12 contest against the undefeated Steelers that has been moved to Tuesday night. The veteran pass-catcher caught four of five targets for 28 yards in the loss to the Titans last week. Bryant has been active for two games in 2020, but last Sunday was the first time that he actually saw passes come his way. It's great to see the former Cowboy back on Baltimore's active roster, but he can be ignored in the majority of fantasy leagues this week, especially with quarterback Robert Griffin III taking over under center for Lamar Jackson, who tested positive for COVID-19.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) has officially been ruled out for the Week 12 contest against the Vikings after not traveling with the team. McCaffrey was limited in practice all week and was initially listed as questionable, though head coach Matt Rhule indicated that he was more on the doubtful side of things. The good news is, the All-Pro runner will likely be back in the lineup following the team's Week 13 bye. Mike Davis will operate as the lead back and will run behind an offensive line that could potentially be down three starters on Sunday. However, his projected heavy workload and a favorable matchup with Minnesota make him a solid RB2 for Week 12.
New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims has seen seven targets or more in three of his four games he's played in this season. The Jets clearly want to get the second-round rookie involved in their passing attack every week. He'll head into a matchup against the Miami Dolphins who are average against the passing attack this season. Mims should get targets, but he has failed to do much with them. He can be considered a flex option in PPR leagues this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that backup center A.Q. Shipley (neck), who started the last two games, is out for the season and has been advised to end his playing career after his latest injury. The 34-year-old suffered a neck injury late in the fourth quarter of the Monday night loss to the Rams in Week 11. "He had had this injury back in 2013 I believe," Arians said. "Once we did the MRI and X-rays, it was determined that he really shouldn't play anymore." Shipley will finish his career with 110 games played and 72 starts and will go into coaching, according to Arians. Arians was the offensive coordinator with the Steelers when the team selected Shipley in the seventh round of the 2009 draft.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder has been in a bit of a slump lately, but hopefully that will changed in Week 12. Sam Darnold (shoulder) is back under center, so that should give a lift to Crowder's value. He'll get a tough matchup against the Miami Dolphins, but Crowder remains their best weapon on offense. He should get plenty of targets, so fantasy owners can lean on Crowder as a WR3 here.
New York Jets wide receiver Breshad Perriman has hauled in three touchdowns over his last two games. It appears the Jets are looking his way in the end zone, but most of his fantasy value has come from those touchdowns. Perriman will get a fairly tough matchup against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12. Quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) is back under center, so that should help the Jets offense. Perriman could carry flex appeal in this one, assuming the Jets continue throwing his way in the end zone.