If they can’t execute, then it will be time for change
There are several reasons why defensive or offensive systems fail. Beyond talent level, the most common is execution. In some cases, it’s the fault of the players being unable to properly process the information they are being taught. In other cases, it is the inability of the coaching staff to teach or communicate their system to the players.
Sometimes it’s a little of both.
So the real question is; will this be the season that the Lions defense is able to execute what they are being taught? You have to recall that in New England, Matt Patricia was given plenty of credit from his players for his ability to coach or teach them the system.
Yet it hasn’t happened so far in Detroit.
Meanwhile, new defensive coordinator Cory Undlin has been welcomed to the Motor City with the same tag. His former players say he’s an excellent communicator and knows how to motivate his players. Will his influence change things?
In two years Matt Patricia has gotten rid of some of his best defensive players. It has been addition by subtraction and quite frankly regardless of how talented a player is, if they aren’t happy and buying into the system, then they are of no real value.
But at some point there has to be progress. When Matt Patricia was on the interview circuit before formally choosing the Lions, the only strike against him was the general knowledge that no assistant coach has been able to bring the Patriot magic with them.
That doesn’t mean it can’t still happen, but it has to be proven on the field. The 2020 season will be pivotal for Matt Patricia because if it still isn’t working after they’ve already replaced most of the players on defense, that means there has to be serious consideration of going in a different direction.
Sometimes due to circumstances, there may be a process before a coach starts winning. Many great coaches had modest beginnings before they had success. But there also comes a time that a coach has to reward that vote of confidence they have been given by winning.
The Detroit Lions roster still needs more pieces, but it has enough talent to be competitive and play meaningful games in December. Barring half the roster being wiped out by a plague or injuries, its time for Matt Patricia’s team to play like it.
If Matt Patricia’s team doesn’t, then it might be time for Sheila Ford Hamp to make her first crucial decision and find new leadership that is capable of making the Lions winners instead of making excuses.