The whole state of Michigan wants Robert Saleh to coach the Detroit Lions.
As soon as the Ford family pulled the plug on Matt Patricia’s stint as head coach of the Detroit Lions, the most frequently mentioned replacement was San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, as his success on the field and connections to the state of Michigan would make him an ideal candidate to succeed Patricia.
The Saleh-to-Detroit movement is so strong it’s even forcing politicians to get involved. Michigan representative Abdullah Hammoud led a group of legislators who penned a letter in which they recommended Saleh for the job, calling him “the best candidate for the job across every metric” and someone who can “bring tremendous energy and heart to the franchise.”
Robert Saleh is from Michigan, and he’s one of the best defensive coaches in the league
Saleh was born in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn and grew up a Lions fan. He attended Northern Michigan University as a student before getting his start as a coach at Michigan State and Central Michigan. After getting his start in the NFL in 2005 and becoming the linebackers coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014, Saleh was hired as Kyle Shanahan’s defensive coordinator in 2017.
Saleh’s defense ranked fourth in sacks, sixth in forced turnovers, second in total defense, and first in passing defense in 2019, a season that ended with an appearance in the Super Bowl. Even in a season that has been hampered by unfathomably bad injury luck, Saleh has the 49ers playing hard and in contention for the playoffs.
Cornerback Richard Sherman has endorsed Saleh as a head coaching candidate, calling him a “great leader of men.”
The Lions going from the arrogant Patricia to the fiery, yet relatable, Saleh would be a major change of tone. If he picks a good offensive coordinator, the turnaround in Detroit could get them into the postseason sooner rather than later.