Detroit Lions: Matt Patricia’s defensive approach to offense
One of the biggest questions surrounding the Detroit Lions right now is what will be defensive-minded head coach Matt Patricia’s offensive approach.
When the Detroit Lions landed New England Patriot’s mad scientist Matt Patricia as their newest head coach, they knew they were getting a defensive guru. After all, as the Pat’s defensive coordinator since 2012, Patricia’s defenses helped to win two Super Bowl titles.
But one lingering question still remains about the Lions’ newest coaching acquisition: How will Patricia change Detroit’s offense, if it all?
Well, the fact that the Lions decided to keep offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is a positive sign. Last season, Cooter led a Detroit passing attack that ranked sixth in the NFL. With veterans like quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Golden Tate and Marvin Jones singing Cooter’s praises this offseason, it appears one thing Patricia is not interested in doing is rocking the boat when it comes to the passing game in Detroit.
But the one area that desperately needs a change is the Lions’ rushing attack. Ranked dead last in the NFL last season, the Motor City was absolutely inept when it came to running the football. And that was certainly an argument for showing Cooter the door this offseason. But offenses under former head coach Jim Caldwell have often struggled in the running game. So Cooter stays.
Is it possible Patricia’s influence could turn the tide in the Lions’ offense, specifically the rushing attack? Well, according to the man himself, being a defensive guru informs his offensive approach.
"“In general, I have philosophies about offense and what I think is difficult to defend and what makes a complete team,” Patricia told Mlive.com. “You can win some, but you can’t win ultimately if all three phases play in different directions. You know, everyone’s got to be playing in the right direction.”"
It does stand to reason that to be a good defensive coordinator in the NFL, you’d have to have an intimate knowledge of some of the best offenses in the league. And that knowledge will now inform Patricia on how to proceed in Detroit on that side of the ball. Whether he will be successful or not is yet to be seen.
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One thing is for sure though. The Detroit Lions desperately need to re-ignite their rushing attack. Successfully running the football simply has too many benefits to be ignored any longer in the Motor City.