How far can the Detroit Lions go under the new Matt Patricia?
By Robert Jones
This takes us back full circle to the owners’ meetings last week. It takes us to the adjustments that Matt Patricia is making himself this offseason in preparation of having what he expects to be a much better sophomore campaign as the top dog on the sidelines.
Which leads us to the natural question; how far can Patricia take these Lions?
Obviously how well Patricia adjusts to his second season will be a huge factor, but there are a couple of things that run through my mind when I consider this question.
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The first is that while Matt Patricia came off as very congenial and genuinely personable last offseason, it slowly dissipated. As the adversity hit and tension mounted, coming at him from all directions like trying to figure out the whole head coaching thing and probably having doubts about some of his coaching staff as well as players.
It led to tension driven incidents like telling a reporter to sit up straight and have respect for the process of Patricia’s press conference. That was a big hit among the media. The best thing about last season for Matt Patricia is that it’s over.
Yet now as we watched him hold court in Arizona, he looks and sounds like a different man. One who stared down the double-barreled guns of the media and responded with confident, informational and witty comments.
It looked like someone who was starting to understand his job and circumstances while beginning to feel comfortable in his own shoes. Someone who was a coaching favorite among his players in New England, where he worked and drove them just as hard as he did the Lions last year.
Everything Patricia dealt with last season seemed to take all of his time and effort and he was never able to build relationships with his players like he did in New England. Never gave them an opportunity to see who this man really was that continually drove them from the offseason workouts through the finale in Green Bay.
Some coaches never let their players get to know them, but in the case of Matt Patricia, he has to be himself with his players. If they just see him as trying to be Bill Belichick, he will most likely fail, but if they see him for himself and start getting the results on the field, then Patricia will be in perfect position to succeed. And while Matt has tried to be himself, the distance between himself and his players last season was counterproductive.
There is nothing wrong with Matt Patricia’s philosophy. Even in a league where offense is being encouraged and aided by the very rules of the game, Patricia’s desire to run the ball and play tough, hard-nosed defense is an age-old philosophy that has won countless championships.
Until the season gets here and plays out, no one can say for a certainty how far Patricia will take this team, but in my own opinion, If he sticks to his philosophy, doesn’t back down from working his players like last season, but can remain the cool customer who is in control of his job while also being the personable man that created loyalty in so many of his past players, then in time, the sky will be the limit for his Lions.
Rome wasn’t built in a day or even two seasons, but Patricia’s path may eventually reward all loyal Honolulu Blue and Silver fans with a contender which could make all of our dreams come true and maybe even more.