The Detroit Lions finally inked head coach Matt Patricia, and the New England Patriots defensive effort in the Super Bowl doesn’t change anything.
The Detroit Lions hiring of former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is finally official. It signals the continual quest for improvement for this Lions team – a step that feels much more significant than the past hiring of former head coach Jim Caldwell.
First, let’s say thank you to Caldwell for getting this team out of mediocrity and into the playoffs two of the past four seasons. Still without a postseason victory, in steps Patricia. His job is to take this team to the next level. A playoff win would be a great start, but the sites must be set higher.
Second, let’s not overreact to what happened on Sunday. The Philadelphia Eagles put up 41 points on Patricia’s defense and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. It does not mean Patricia is a complete failure and shouldn’t be hired to coach the Lions.
Patricia helped the Patriots to six- and five-game winning streaks during the 2017 regular season culminating in a Super Bowl appearance. His defense average 18.5 and 25 points per game during the regular season and playoffs, respectively. Most importantly, they won 13 regular season games and two playoff games this year.
Third, we know the ultimate goal is to win the championship, but getting there is still a battle. I think we’d all be happy if Patricia pushed this Lions team into the big game. And that’s what team ownership and management hired him to do.
The Patriots are known for taking away an opposing offense’s strength. Having Patricia on the Lions sideline to do that is already a huge success. After stumbling out of the gates with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Patricia helped right the ship, adjusted for injuries and came through with game-plans that led to victories.
Finally, as we saw in the Super Bowl, you can’t account for everything all the time. You need to make adjustments. You need to adapt. The Lions weren’t known for making adjustments and adapting under Caldwell. Patricia brings that to the table. At a minimum, this team should have the correct number of players on the field during key moments of the game.
Defense is half the battle and only a portion of the Patriots success. But if the Lions can pull that type of defensive success and maximize the current players already on the roster, things will certainly be looking up in for these cats in 2018.