Hiring Robert Saleh Will Only Continue the Detroit Lions’ Miserable Existence

Football fans may want to prepare for seeing San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s name in the same social media posts as the Detroit Lions.

Saleh has been linked to the Lions’ head coaching vacancy since the team fired Matt Patricia after Thanksgiving. The leader of an injury-depleted 49ers defense, Saleh is a hot name on the coaching carousel this season.

Although there is no denying that Saleh has done an incredible job with the San Francisco 49ers, the Detroit Lions need to resist their original impulses. Hiring Saleh to replace Patricia will only continue the Lions’ miserable existence.

Robert Saleh is the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator

Robert Saleh is the defensive version of Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy if such a comparison can even be made.

Both coaches are trending on the coaching carousel. The media has touted Bieniemy, a former NFL running back responsible for molding Patrick Mahomes into the league’s best quarterback, as the next great head coach.

Saleh hasn’t gotten the same level of buzz, but Bieniemy is the exception. San Francisco’s defense has battled numerous major injuries under Saleh’s watch, especially this season, but the 49ers have kept fighting.

San Francisco enters its Week 13 matchup with Josh Allen and the Bills at 5-6. Somehow, despite injuries to the likes of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and defensive end Nick Bosa, the 49ers are still alive in the NFC playoff picture.

Saleh has been linked to the Detroit Lions’ opening

Not long after the San Francisco 49ers’ season ends, Robert Saleh could find himself on a plane to Michigan.

Saleh, who was born in Dearborn, Mich., and played tight end at Northern Michigan, has been linked to the Lions’ head coaching vacancy. Detroit fired head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn in late-November.

Saleh, 41, is familiar with coaching in Michigan. He began his career at Michigan State in 2002 and, after two seasons as a defensive assistant, took a similar position at Central Michigan in 2004.

Saleh has not coached in Michigan since his lone year at CMU.

Robert Saleh coaching the Detroit Lions would end in disaster

Robert Saleh is exceptionally qualified for an NFL head coaching job, and he seems destined to earn one in the coming years.

Saleh and the Detroit Lions appear right for one another. However, both sides need to resist those urges and look elsewhere.

Detroit just tried working with a highly-regarded defensive coordinator in Patricia, who excelled with the New England Patriots. That hire ended in Patricia cleaning out his office two days after Thanksgiving.

Detroit would be wise looking at offensive-minded head coaching candidates, preferably people who have been head coaches before. Jim Harbaugh may have burnt too many bridges in the state of Michigan to land the Lions’ job.

If the Eagles and Doug Pederson part ways, Detroit needs to pounce on Pederson. Florida head coach Dan Mullen and Iowa’s Matt Campbell haven’t led an NFL team, but they also make more sense than Saleh.


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If Detroit wants to go for a retread, Bill O’Brien had plenty of success in Houston. Detroit needs to hire a veteran general manager and keep O’Brien far away from any decision-making, however.

Robert Saleh will get his chance, and it may even come in the next few weeks. But both he and the Detroit Lions are best not trying to make a Michigan reunion happen.

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