What will new head coach Matt Patricia bring to the Detroit Lions? A careful look at his defense in Super Bowl LII should tell us.
Once again it is Super Bowl Sunday. For Detroit Lions fans this day is about the joy of watching the two best teams in the NFL battling it out for a world championship. It’s also a annoying reminder that the Lions have never been good enough to be there themselves.
Yet, today is different. The big matchup may be the New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles, but for Lions fans, it’s about the direction their team is headed (or at least attempting to). It’s about what long-suffering Lions fans hope to see, possibly as soon as next season; an organized, competitive team that plays smart and adjusts to all situations.
We all know that worst kept secret in the NFL right now is that Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will be the Lions next head coach. With that in mind, there is plenty for fans of the Honolulu Blue and Silver to pay attention to.
When Patricia does join the Lions in the upcoming days, he will bring his own version of the ‘Patriot way’ with him. He will attempt to install the multiple defensive sets the Patriots have used so successfully. A defense that has not always been populated with stars, but nevertheless is always one of the hardest to score upon in the NFL each year.
So while you reach for another slice of pizza or hot wings, you’ll want to pay close attention to how the Patriot defense handles an Eagle offense that abused a very good Minnesota Vikings defense in the National Conference championship game. A defense many felt was the best in the NFL this year.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was able to torch the Viking secondary with crisp, accurate passes, while the Philadelphia ground game was able to gain consistent enough yardage to keep Minnesota on their heels. This will be a matchup that will tell everyone in Detroit plenty about their new head coach.
Patricia’s game planning goes so far as to often have the Patriots playing completely different defenses from week to week or even from the first half to the second half. Sometimes when the Patriots defense starts slow, it’s almost like they’re toying with their opposition before tightening the screws in the second half and taking over the game.
Defense wins championships. Period. While many talk about how incredible Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was leading his team back to victory in last years Super Bowl, you have to remember; without the defensive stops and big plays Patricia’s unit continually provided in the second half of that game, Brady and the Patriots wouldn’t have had the opportunity to claim victory and a fifth Super Bowl title.
The same goes for the American Conference championship game against the Jacksonville Jaguars two weeks ago. Yes, Brady was great. But the Patriots defense was suffocating in the second half allowing New England to win and advance.
If the Patriots should defeat the Eagles for their sixth title, it won’t only be due to ‘Tommy Terrific’. It will also be a tribute to Patricia and the work he has done with their defense.
How Matt Patricia will translate to Detroit Lions is anyone’s guess right now. But assuming he can bring the level of competence to the Lions defense that he has enjoyed with the Patriots, this franchise should be in pretty good hands.