What all of that means is that the Lions have every opportunity to meet their goals and find their way back into the playoffs for the first time in three years. Despite how everyone in the media is touting the Packers, Bears, and Vikings. It will all come down to one factor; can Matt Patricia become the coach Bob Quinn thought he hired?
Each season smart coaches that make astute in-game moves are able to increase their teams win total for the season just by being on the ball and one step ahead of their opponent. Sure you need talent to win, but outside of the leagues true bottom-feeders, the talent difference between the eventual Super Bowl champion and an 8-8 team isn’t as big as you would think. Not in today’s NFL.
Free-agency has destroyed the ability of teams to hoard talent. Having the kind of depth where your third stringer could start for half of the other teams in the league no longer exists.
So the point is, Matt Patricia has been given a team that can play his system and is talented enough to win. What’s he going to do with it?
The skepticism will continue to follow Patricia until he does one simple, but very difficult thing; win games. Winning in the NFL isn’t easy. If anyone should know that it’s Lions fans.
Yet that is what Matt Patricia is charged with. He literally is a rocket scientist and is pretty much literally the smartest man in the room. But football isn’t rocket science. If Patricia didn’t know it before last season, he does now.
So the success of the Detroit Lions will ride on Matt Patricia’s self-awareness and ability to learn from his mistakes. He also has to win the locker room over to get their best effort, which is helped by some offseason acquisitions who will help police the locker room. Players like Trey Flowers and Danny Amendola are huge Patricia fans and know that what Patricia is trying to do works.
They experienced it first hand in New England.
Which means that Patricia’s whole game has to raise. Weekly preparation, in-game management and even managing egos. These athletes are used to being the best of the best. That confidence combined with their natural talent is how they got to the NFL.
Without question, the challenge is laid out before Matt Patricia. Improve as a head coach, while also being true to himself, and lead the Lions to victory. Not just every other week, but consistently. As a matter of fact, they should even look like winners in defeat. Make their opponent outlast them and feel like they were lucky to beat Detroit.
Many may think little of Matt Patricia, but he holds the key to the Lions success or failure in 2019. He has the ability to change everything, including the perception of the media and fans. And winning is the only thing that will do that.