Matt Patricia’s first two years with the Detroit Lions haven’t been good. But after his recent Senior Bowl appearance, is he really the problem in Detroit?
January 25th marked the annual Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. It featured a dominant 34-17 win from the North team. What NFL staff coached that squad you may ask? None other than head coach Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions.
Despite all of the amazing athletes participating in the Senior Bowl, it was Patricia that got most of the attention for the weekend. Lions fans know all too well about the style of practice that Patricia runs. Surprisingly, not a lot of people outside of Detroit know about it though.
The practices are long, grueling, and consist a lot of conditioning. Most importantly, there’s a lot of yelling, and that was put on display when the two-year head coach was mic’d up during one of their practices.
Lots of people were taken back by the amount of yelling and profanity produced by Patricia. Twitter erupted in people both supporting the aggressive style, and being against it.
You would expect a group of egotistical college athletes to feel as if they were above that style of coaching. But surprisingly, it’s the exact opposite.
Michigan quarterback, Shea Patterson, muffed an under-center snap during practice and was immediately chewed out by Patricia. Patterson was later asked about his thoughts on Patricia’s response to his mistake. Here’s his response via MLive.com.
"“It can’t happen. It can’t happen. That’s the first thing. My first job is to get the ball, and secure the snap. It’s just a coaching point. He’s doing his job, and I just have to take it and learn from him and apply it.”"
Patterson simply took it as a piece of hard coaching. If a young college kid can think that, then why can’t Patricia’s team full of grown men in the NFL do the same?
The Lions head coach was able to take a group of college athletes with no chemistry, and turn them into a dominant force within a week. Yet, it’s been two seasons with Detroit and he hasn’t been able to do that with them.
Because of Patricia’s performance at the Senior Bowl, I don’t think he’s 100 percent the problem for the Detroit Lions struggles. Sure, he’s definitely part of the reason. I mean, he’s the head coach for crying out loud, he has to take part of the blame.
But when you look at the grand scheme of things, there’s a lot of other reasons why the Lions have been so horrid recently. In 2018, general manager Bob Quinn made a head-scratching move by trading current New York Giants wide receiver, Golden Tate. Once he was gone, it seemed like everything else kind of fell of the rails.
Detroit players were openly confused and frustrated about the trade, especially since they got half-eaten bag of chips in return for the trade. Then in 2019, quarterback Matthew Stafford goes down with what turned out to be a season-ending back injury. Patricia can’t control that.
I don’t care who you are, I don’t think any head coach could’ve taken quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and David Blough and done any better than what Patricia did. His time in Detroit has been very unlucky. There have been lots of head-scratching front office moves and a boat-load of injuries. Essentially, a lot of things out of Patricia’s control.
There’s only so much a head coach can do. At the end of the day, he’s not the one playing out there. He’s just providing the tools for the players. At one point or another, the players just have to step up.
Nonetheless, Matt Patricia is still on the hot seat for this upcoming season. It’s likely playoffs or bust for both him and general manager Bob Quinn, the man who hired him. No matter what the circumstances are, a postseason berth is the expectation. It’s tough, but that’s the way this particular cookie has crumbled.