The Detroit Lions have transformed a divided locker room into a close-knit group. How did Matt Patricia do it?
Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia is on the hot seat this season. The mandate from ownership is for these Motor City cats to ‘play meaningful games in December’ or in other words be in the playoff race.
Coming off an underwhelming season which saw the Lions finish a lowly 3-12-1, that has to be considered a relatively tall order. Yet general manager Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia feel confident that this team will be competitive and contend within the division.
On the outside looking in, there is concern about the defense. Last year’s unit was poor not only by league standards but was also one of the worst in the history of the Detroit Lions.
Yet despite the awful record, we need to remember that the Lions held the lead in 13 games last season, but were only able to finish off three of them in victory. That’s 10 games that Detroit’s defense allowed their opponents to come back and win.
Matt Patricia came to the Lions as a highly regarded defensive coordinator from the New England dynasty. Many people will say that it was Bill Belichick that was the mastermind behind those Patriots defenses, which is correct. But what no one seems to understand or wants to admit is that Belichick gave Matt Patricia a long leash to run it.
Up until now Patricia simply hasn’t been able to duplicate that success in Detroit. And there are doubts about whether this will be the year he finally gets to right. While he and Bob Quinn have assembled more talent on that side of the ball, there are questions about the pass-rush and the depth.
Ironically the season that the Lions defense had the most success under Patricia was his first year in Detroit when mutiny was in the air. Patricia sunk the good ship ‘Caldwell’ where practices were more laid back by bringing a no-nonsense approach to the team and basically working his players as hard as he could.
Matt Patricia sent notice to the whole Lions locker room that there was a new sheriff in town, but it was not received well. The in-season acquisition of ‘Snacks’ Harrison allowed the defense to finish the year strong as the number 10 ranked total defense in the league. However, dissension was in the air and last season became another story.