Detroit Lions: What will Matt Patricia’s influence be on the offense?

ALLEN PARK, MI - FEBRUARY 07: Matt Patricia speaks at a press conference after being hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions at the Detroit Lions Practice Facility on February 7, 2018 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
ALLEN PARK, MI - FEBRUARY 07: Matt Patricia speaks at a press conference after being hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions at the Detroit Lions Practice Facility on February 7, 2018 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

New Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia is known for his innovative work on defense, but how will he impact their offense?

When new Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia was formally introduced a couple of weeks ago to the press, one of the comments he made was that the great thing about being a head coach is that you get to call a play whenever you want to.

As in offense, defense or special teams.

For many fans, they wonder just what exactly the former New England Patriots defensive coordinator could appreciably add to the offense or even special teams.

I suppose we could discuss how he started his coaching career in college and with the Patriots as an offensive line coach, which means he was heavily involved with each programs running game.

But I don’t think that needs to be pointed out as much as the fact that he understands what opposing offenses have done that is difficult to game-plan for. Remember that the man is a rocket scientist. It’s not like he hasn’t seen, broken down and designed ways to stop just about every possible offense in the NFL currently known to man.

There is actually a tremendous amount the right kind of coach can do in this situation.

Consider this; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick made his way up the NFL chain as a defensive guy. Even to this day that is his bread and butter, however, he adds to the Patriots offense all the time because of schemes, formations and plays that he knows are difficult to defend.

Again, with the right coach they can make their expertise on one side of the ball pay off on the other side of the ball.

Probably the best example would be former Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry. He played primarily corner back for the New York Giants for six seasons from 1950-1955 after one season with the New York Yankees of the old All American Football Conference (AAFC) in 1949 after which the league folded.

Landry was known as a student of the game and before he had even retired from playing he was basically calling the Giants defenses. After retirement he was named the Giants defensive coordinator. It was Landry that created the modern use and function of linebackers. His most famous pupil was Hall of Famer Sam Huff.

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Landry’s Giants played smart, innovative defense and was always among the best in the league under him. In 1960 he left the Giants to become a first time head coach for the expansion Dallas Cowboys.

Coaching an expansion team is always difficult, but back in those days you would be lucky to get any kind of semi-decent talent, much less any kind of actual stars to build around. Yet Landry’s Cowboys could put points on the board right from the beginning. The reason? He made one of the most innovative coaching minds in the history of the NFL his offensive coordinator.

Who was that man? Tom Landry himself.

Landry didn’t have hardly any pieces to work with defensively and it took time to build the ‘Doomsday’ defense that made them perennial contenders throughout the late 1960’s and 70’s.

However on offense Landry was the master of deception by using motion offense to distract defenses from where the Cowboys would attack. He tinkered with the ‘shotgun’ offense which the San Francisco 49ers had used in 1960, turning it into the ‘spread’ offense which we see deployed today in the NFL.

It became a weapon he chose to counter the inconsistent pass blocking Cowboys quarterbacks had to live behind in order to give them that extra split second to find a receiver before the pass-rush was all over them.

Trick plays galore as well a solid formations and schemes that have become a part of literally every offense today are part of Landry’s own Hall of Fame legacy.

Now we have no idea as yet whether Matt Patricia will be as innovative or successful as Bill Belichick or Tom Landry. However, there is no denying how much a good coach can not only turn around a team’s offense or defense depending on their own background of expertise, but they can work wonders on the opposite side of the ball as well if they really know what they’re doing.

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Do not be surprised to see some new wrinkles not only in the ground game, but with the Lions passing attack as well. Patricia will put his fingerprints on all three phases of the game and if he proves to be perceptive and ground-breaking, then Lions fans should get ready to enjoy the ride.