The Detroit Lions had the opportunity to coach the Senior Bowl this past weekend, where head coach Matt Patricia proved to be popular with the young guys.
The best part about watching the 2020 Senior Bowl for Detroit Lions fans, other than seeing prospects who could be future members of the Pride, was seeing head coach Matt Patricia being in the ear of all these young players.
The Lions were chosen to coach the North squad at the Senior Bowl over the weekend, giving both Patricia and his coaching staff extra time to evaluate some of the top prospects entering the 2020 NFL Draft. The North All-Stars ended up winning the game over the South All-Stars on Saturday, 34-17.
Some of these future NFL players loved Patricia’s candor and prominent swearing, as quoted in Kyle Meinke’s piece for MLive.com about the leader of the Lions. Former Michigan State linebacker defensive lineman Kenny Willekes spoke very highly of Patricia.
"“I love it. The way (Patricia) pushes us, the way he gets us motivated to come out here and work hard each and every day. He brings the enthusiasm, so I love to come out here and play for a guy like that.”"
Patricia has far from a 100 percent approval rating with Lions fans right now, having lead the team to two-straight losing seasons. But quotes like the one above are a positive sign.
Obviously, young players looking to get their way into the NFL are going to say positive things to their employer. That’s a no-brainer. But the responses from players showing respect for Patricia seem more heartfelt that the canned responses players could have been fed by PR teams.
While the guys in ESPN’s booth working the drop-button had a busy week feeding out Patricia’s swear words, the way he was unapologetically himself during the week was fun to see, as fans don’t often get to see Patricia instructing players in the way that he was.
The improvements that were shown throughout the week because of tweaks Patricia and his staff made were easy to see. While some criticized Patricia for focusing too much on individual, that’s kind of the whole point of the Senior Bowl: helping young football players improve before NFL scout’s eyes.
What ultimately matters is that the players who participated in the Senior Bowl loved Patricia. And those players will want to come to Detroit if they know he’ll be their leader. They can associate Patricia’s eloquent teaching style and fun personality to the Lions. And putting that kind of face to the organization could be huge for those young men.
Even though Martha Ford gave Patricia and Bob Quinn an ultimatum of having this Detroit Lions team contend for the playoffs next year, drafting young players who are ready to bleed Honolulu Blue and fight for their head coach are a step in the right direction.