Detroit Lions fans: The NFL draft is over, so what’s next?

Detroit Lions fans (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions fans (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Can ‘virtual’ training work for the Lions?

What do we have to look forward to? Maybe there will be a late summer minicamp to give the players a chance to get a little bit of work in together before training camp follows shortly thereafter or maybe it will be a slightly extended training camp to give everyone an opportunity to put the best product possible on the field come opening day.

The NFL did announce a well thought out game plan for next season that gives them flexibility and should certainly ensure a full schedule. So the Lions will be back eventually this fall.

However, one way or another, some Lions fans are nervous for good reason. I suppose we could say ‘why should this year be any different than the last 60 plus seasons?’ But maybe there is a ray of sunshine that none of us have thought of? Maybe in a strange way, this will work for the Lions.

Last weekend Bob Quinn ran the virtual draft without a hitch and put together what appears to be perhaps his best draft class as the Lions general manager. That still has to play out on the field, but outside of waiting a little too late for the taste of many fans and media alike to address the defensive line, it was a productive draft.

It’s easy to see how dynamic the additions to the Lions offense can help make it and the additions of Okudah and Julian Okwara were both very good picks at positions of need.

So it would seem that in a make or break offseason, Bob Quinn has actually done his job and given the Lions enough talented additions to make them competitive in the NFC North. In other words, they should be good enough to play some meaningful games in December.

They may not win the division, but they have enough talent to compete in a division where none of the Lions rivals created a real separation between themselves and the rest of the NFC North.

So now everything will fall upon the shoulders of Matt Patricia to do what he says he likes to do most; teach. He has several new pupils, some with NFL experience and several more that are just trying to figure out this league.

Can he find enough video evidence to show his new charges what to do right and what is wrong? Well, all last season was a ‘how not to’ instructional for playing defense in Detroit. Are there enough examples he can show his new players of how they should play what is considered a very complex defense?

His hands-on training hasn’t accomplished much over the last two offseasons, could he be a better ‘virtual’ or classroom coach then he is a hands-on?

While the fans may get to see the other major sports come out of mothballs first, what they have to look forward to is how the Lions and the rest of the NFL look on the field when they finally get their chance.

It probably won’t be overly pretty, and I’m not just talking about the Lions, but if the Honolulu Blue and Silver can be close to semi-cohesive, then Matt Patricia may have saved his job and done exactly what he was hired to do; teach this franchise how to play the game.

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There are certainly no guarantees this will work and I wouldn’t bet the farm on it just because of how difficult it will be for every team, but if Matt Patricia does somehow pull it off, he may consider abandoning OTAs for good.