Detroit Lions: Matt Patricia’s success depends on this offseason
By Robert Jones
Matt Patricia suffered through a difficult first season as the Lions head coach. He had to deal with a roster that was not built for his system. A coaching staff that was not optimal to run it, mainly on offense, and a locker room that was divided and not happy about saying good-bye to the much more leisurely practices of Jim Caldwell as compared to the much harder working atmosphere of camp Patricia.
Toss in the slow learning curve for his players, key injuries and trading away a key piece of the passing game, and it really shouldn’t have come as a major shock that they didn’t live up to the hype the Lions fans base had created.
Instead of hitting the ground running they took baby steps. It was a lost season for fans, but the truth of the matter is that if Matt Patricia is going to succeed as the Detroit Lions head coach, those baby steps were necessary.
Despite his reputation as a rocket scientist and formerly being Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s right-hand man, he had three strikes working against him last year. The first was that he had no experience as a head coach on any level.
This manifested itself on several occasions both in the locker room and dealing with the press. It also fed into players that didn’t believe in him or his system.
Second was that he had no history of his own success. Many assistant coaches are able to move on from good teams and gain their players respect for what they accomplished with their former team. Former Patriots coaches are looked at in a different light. Partly because of the lack of success they have had as head coaches, but mostly because Bill Belichick is the reason for New England’s success.
Anyone who worked for Belichick has him to thank for any accomplishments they achieved in New England. Therefore unlike other former assistants from other teams, Patricia has an uphill battle to face and overcome if he expects to become a winner in Detroit.
And finally, because of the first two strikes against him, when Matt Patricia actually works his players like they are professional athlete’s, any hint of doubt in the minds of these players about whether Matt’s system will work or not is pushed towards disbelief because he doesn’t have any success of his own they can point to and say, ‘we train hard because it produces champions.’
Fair or not, these are big obstacles Matt Patricia has to overcome if he is to actually succeed.