Matt Patricia is responsible for how the Lions execute
Matt Patricia now has a combined record of 9-23-1 as the head coach of the Detroit Lions. Let’s be honest, that’s not good enough and his seat should be red hot right now, but was Sunday’s loss all his fault?
The loss of Jamie Collins after being ejected didn’t help matters. Losing their top two cornerbacks that suited up, since number three overall pick Jeff Okudah was already out due to injury, hurt even more.
Cornerback Tony McRae is a special teams star, but when he entered the game in the fourth quarter due to Desmond Trufant’s injury, he was the player that Trubisky picked on the most. He was the one who was burned repeatedly.
While injuries aren’t Matt Patricia’s fault, you can blame him or defensive coordinator Cory Undlin for not running more zone coverage to help out McRae, which is a legitimate thought process. The fact of the matter is that in the fourth quarter when trying to hold onto a big lead and being down to your last string-bottom-of-the-barrel cornerbacks, there should have been more zone coverage to protect them as much as possible.
That doesn’t mean that the defense stops being aggressive or blitzing to get pressure on the enemy quarterback, but job number one is to make sure you don’t give up any big plays and make it as difficult or at least time consuming as possible for the opponent to put points on the board.
If the Lions secondary was healthy, it would’ve meant little since they played well in general against Trubisky. Being down to the final dregs of the roster, though, means a different thought process is needed.
Ultimately, Matt Patricia is responsible for how his team executes on the field and the strategy they use. The strategy needed to be better, and the Lions were undisciplined. Yet until the avalanche in the fourth quarter, they were blowing out the Bears.
I won’t hold the long field goal attempt against Patricia, because Matt Prater is good enough to make that kick and I think most fans and media alike thought he was going to make it. Those who criticize that decision are welcomed to their opinion, but Matt Prater has one of the best long distance legs in the game. He may have pushed that one wide right, but he’ll probably make the next one from that distance.
So while Adrian Petersen has become a hero in Detroit after only one game, Matt Patricia has sunk deeper into the hot seat. The Lions face a crucial divisional matchup in Green Bay this Sunday which has become much more important after giving away last week’s game.
Petersen is on a one year contract and management may even want him to return, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Lions decided to rely on their two young backs Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift next season making Petersen a one hit wonder in Motown. Yet if the truth be told, Matt Patricia is basically on a one year ‘prove it’ contract as well, and if his defense doesn’t start to figure out how to stop opponents and close out games, Patricia won’t be back.