Detroit Lions: Matt Patricia has his team singing in harmony
By Robert Jones
Making progress as a coach
Last year the biggest improvement everyone noticed was the hiring of Darrell Bevell as the Lions new offensive coordinator. Matthew Stafford took to the offense immediately and played like an MVP until injury ended his season. The passing game was explosive with Stafford at the helm, and the ground game actually improved in the second half of the season when Matthew was out injured.
As a matter of fact, Kerryon Johnson was also out until the final two games.
Yet the hiring of Bevell was a definite hit. As we look ahead to next week and the season opener against the Chicago Bears, almost all of the optimism fans have is centered around the offense.
With a healthy Stafford and some new weapons added to the mix, it has the potential to be good. As a matter of fact, if the offensive line does their job, this could be one of the best offenses in the NFL.
The excitement of what this offense can do is palpable and real.
However, not to be overlooked is that in a season that crashed and burned last year, Darrell Bevell’s offense wasn’t the only improvement. There was a noticeable difference in how Matt Patricia handled his team.
It was a difference that players noticed, and applauded.
Instead of taking the hard-nosed, Belichick approach, he was more personable with his players. He was more like the coach that the players in New England spoke of who not only was credited for making them better but was a players coach who was respected by them.
A coach they cared about.
Now you can’t please everyone and that was manifested in the backlash by players after Quandre Diggs was dealt to Seattle last year. A move that eventually led to Darius Slay’s fallout and offseason trade.
Along with the record, how the defense played, and the Diggs trade followed by Slay’s fall out with the team, those were the lasting memories of last season. Not the fact that Matt Patricia seemed to be making progress as a coach.
Now, will the global pandemic that caused the league to have a virtual offseason and abbreviated training camp with no preseason games, Matt Patricia has his hand’s full meeting the mandate to have the Lions playing ‘meaningful games in December’.