Inflexibility leads to failure
It is well documented that Matt Patricia was indeed a rocket scientist until the lure of the game he loved caused him to turn in his resignation and pursue a career in coaching. He started out coaching the defensive line at Amherst University before joining Paul Pasqualoni at Syracuse.
After three years in Syracuse, Matt Patricia got his big break when Bill Belichick hired him in New England. Patricia worked his way up from being an offensive assistant to eventually becoming the Patriots defensive coordinator.
In February 2018, he was hired as the Detroit Lions head coach. After all the success and Super Bowls that he had been a part of in New England, the fan base in the Motor City was excited to see what Patricia could do with a team that Bob Quinn considered better than the 9-7 record that caused the end of the Jim Caldwell era.
Now as we come to the end of Matt Patricia’s second year in Detroit it appears that he will finish with nine wins overall in two seasons.
The team that was considered to be better than its record of 9-7 is now preparing to make a very high draft choice in April after making a top 10 selection last year. Isn’t progress supposed to go the other way?
So Matt Patricia will now face his biggest challenge yet in Detroit; actually make the Lions winners or else. It would seem that Martha Firestone Ford is tired of losing and expects results. Given the history of this franchise, you would expect her to be used to it.
However, lost in the backlash by the media and fans is that Matt Patricia did make some progress from last season to this one. After what appeared to be almost open mutiny last year and players not giving the effort required to win in the NFL, Patricia and Quinn were able to weed out the dissenters and add many believers to the squad.
Patricia also modified his approach. He still demanded more from his players but was able to find a better middle ground in his approach. The results? Until the team was completely ravaged by injuries and went to Minnesota to face what has become a very good Vikings team, the consistently good effort, even if the results often sucked, allowed them to find ways to take the lead in all of their first 12 games.
Unfortunately, they were unable to close out their opponents in nine of them. A ratio that isn’t quite conducive to success.
The bottom line is that it hasn’t been good enough, but there are enough baby steps there that could be the groundwork for success if he can conquer one of the most difficult hurdles to becoming a winning head coach in the NFL; adaptability.