How will the Detroit Lions change when Matt Patricia is in charge?
Patricia is a defensive coordinator, and as a head coach is more likely to determine everything about how the defense runs than to make changes to the offense.
It is also reasonable, given the Patriots success in the running game, that Patricia will demand big improvements to the rushing offense, as well. More on that, later.
The Patriots “base” defense, or most common, at this point has been a nickel package. For the layperson, it just means five defensive backs are on the field. A nickel is five cents, five defensive backs. That usually means two cornerbacks, and three safeties make up the nickel , five player, look.
What is important to remember is that Teryl Austin, the previous defensive coordinator, employed a nickel defense much of the time, too. Austin is now in Cincinnati in the same role.
The rest of the base formation for the Patriots is: two linebackers, two defensive ends, and two defensive tackles.
The catch is that in almost any game the safeties are often asked to serve multiple functions. They function both like a linebacker, and are asked to cover receivers, tight ends, or running backs, as well. So, let’s assume that Patricia will use a hybrid linebacker-safety. Linebackers are also asked to do more than one job, as are linemen.
For all of the success that they have had using the nickel, the Pat’s also use more traditional, 4-3 and 3-4 schemes interchangeably, too.
In other words, you need many players who can play in all three schemes effectively.
The idea that Belichick has always conveyed to spectators is that he was only married to winning, not to any particular system.
Belichick is known to employ, and change, schemes based upon what another team does well, or what they do during a game. It makes almost too much sense, then, that Patricia would emulate his successful mentor. After all, Patricia is literally a rocket scientist.