Now let me be upfront about this concern. First of all, I definitely understand that wins and losses don’t matter in the preseason. As a matter of fact, their only function is to give coaches the opportunity to evaluate their players in game situations. Which helps the process of deciding who makes the final roster. That’s not the issue.
The issue is; how do you spend a week working and practicing against another team and not at least be competitive when they hit the field to play?
Teams don’t game plan or scheme against their opponents in the preseason. They play vanilla offense and defense. Matt Patricia’s background is, of course, having been an assistant to Bill Belichick in New England. Where they take secrecy to another level.
So the fact that Patricia will never show anything in the preseason is not a surprise. Yet even without game planning, Patricia is expected to have his players ready to play whenever they hit the field.
Look at it like this, were the Raiders or Giants so much better than the Lions last year that they should have blown them out as they did? The Raider finished the season with four wins. The Giants had only five. Sure they were close to the Detroit’s six-win total, but how were the Lions not competitive against them?
Last week the Lions played the defending Super Bowl champions, but hardly any starters saw the field and any that did were only briefly in battle. It was the same non-competitive story.
So what do I want to see this Saturday in Houston? A competitive Lions team. Winning the game would be nice, but that really doesn’t matter. The Lions will be naturally more competitive when they have all their starters on the field, but so will their opponents as well.
The exhibition season means little, but sluggish, mistake-prone play can turn victory into defeat during the regular season. Most of the players that played poorly or made mistakes last week won’t be on the roster come opening day, but it is Matt Patricia’s job to clean up the play on the field.
Matt Patricia is very bright and understands the game very well. He is also spoken more highly of by Bill Belichick than most of his former assistants that have been given opportunities as head coaches in the NFL. For those who want to say that it is because Belichick has a close friendship with Patricia, remember; Belichick is a no-nonsense, forget emotion and do whatever it takes to win coach.
In other words, I would expect him to say kind words about his old friend Patricia, but he wouldn’t endorse him the way he has if he truly didn’t believe in him. Patricia has what it takes to succeed, but he still has to prove it on the field. And while the real tale of the tape is to win in the regular season and playoffs, I would love to see the Lions start being competitive in Houston. Because while the wins don’t matter, competitiveness does and it does carry over.