Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia started at the bottom. Now, he needs the time necessary to build this franchise, as he did himself, into a winner.
The Detroit Lions first season under head coach Matt Patricia did not go as planned. After five straight seasons of avoiding double-digit losses, Detroit succumbed to a 6-10 record in 2018 that left the fan base feeling pessimistic.
Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn are supposed to bring some of that New England Patriots championship magic to this team. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been the gold standard for how to run an organization for nearly two decades. And Quinn and Patricia definitely model the Detroit Lions organization on Belichick’s principles.
On Friday’s The Dan Patrick Show, analyst Chris Simms talked about the past failures of coaches that were once under Belichick – like Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. But those guys, like Belichick before them, came from the Bill Parcells’ coaching tree.
Simms believed that the current crop of coaches has something new going for them (08-02-19, “Hour 2 – Chris Simms”):
"“The one thing that I look at with a [Brian] Flores, a [Matt] Patricia, and even a Josh McDaniels… these guys are full Belichick. And they started from the bottom. They know every facet of the organization. What made it successful from scouting and free agency, to the draft, and putting a team together. And weekly game plans.”"
Quinn and Patricia might still be in the process of bottoming out this Detroit Lions franchise. And that may well result in another mediocre season. But maybe these are the steps that will turn this organization into a winner.
It is hard to be optimistic about this team. My only source of confidence is the Quinn/Patricia leadership, and last year did very little to keep that confidence afloat. But it’s still there (just a bit closer to drowning than floating).
But because these guys came through the New England system and learned it from the bottom, maybe – with enough time – they can build the Detroit Lions in the same way. It is the only thing worth believing in at this point.
So, why believe? Believe mostly because the team is being built with sound principles. The team isn’t flashy when it comes to free agency or the draft. Yes, defensive end Trey Flowers got a huge contract, but getting a pass rusher deems that kind of salary.
The draft has been mostly focused upon building the defense and providing talent for the offensive line. Even 2019 first round pick tight end T.J. Hockenson is a player that is good at receiving, but at blocking as well. He’s more of a complete player that can be on the field for any down, and can help in the running game when called upon.
If Quinn and Patricia were not capable of helping New England win titles, then the Patriots would not have retained them for all those years. And they certainly wouldn’t have been promoted.
It’s just so hard to have patience because of the Detroit Lions consistent record of making mistakes. Hopefully, Quinn and Patricia can build something in 2019 – really show the fans that the Lions are actually getting closer. It is hard to say what will be satisfactory this season in terms of wins – well, 12 wins, a division title, and a playoff victory would be satisfactory, but let’s be realistic.
This team is looking at six to eight wins this season. And maybe that will jump up to double digits, if things break right over the next five months. But 2019 needs to be the final stepping-stone to a consistent winner. By year three of the Quinn/Patricia partnership, enough should be in place to win a playoff game or two. And then, finally, contend for a Super Bowl.