Matt Patricia should be fired sooner rather than later
The Detroit Lions were completely outclassed in their loss to the Packers and showed that head coach Matt Patricia’s time in Detroit should be winding down.
One week after blowing a three-score game against the Chicago Bears, en route to a 27-23 loss, the Detroit Lions looked totally helpless for the last three quarters of football on Sunday. Despite going up 14-3 through the first quarter on the Green Bay Packers, Detroit ended the game losing 42-21, looking terrible for much of the game.
The Aaron Rodgers-led offense had no problem marching up and down the field. The Packers could literally do whatever they wanted on offense, as the defense could not stop the run or the pass. The running game was electric throughout the game, with everybody getting their share of yards for the Packers.
As a whole, the Pack ran the ball 33 times for 260 yards and two touchdowns and an average of 7.5 yards per carry. Through the air, Rodgers was able to complete 18 of his passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Had it not been for drops from his targets, Rodgers likely would have topped 275 yards and three touchdowns.
Nothing could go the way of the Lions on defense, as they couldn’t get out of their own way either, committing a number of personal foul penalties that they have no excuse for. And when it comes to those types of penalties, you can almost always look at bad leadership and coaching as the root cause.
Offensively, after imposing their will on the first two drives, the Lions offense did what they’ve always done under Patricia; completely shut down after going up two scores. Once getting that two-score lead, Patricia had the offense go completely vanilla with no creativity and they were never able to recapture the momentum they had in the first quarter.
These issues have been a constant pain for the team, and for the fans watching the game, under Patricia and he never seems to be able to fix the problems. Detroit has consistently had terrible defensive play, a vanilla offense with any sizable lead, and a team that can’t stop hurting themselves on the field, all of which leads to a team that literally cannot keep a fourth-quarter lead of any size.
At the end of it all, it all points to one undeniable truth; Matt Patricia has to go. Patricia cannot lead a team full of grown men and it has shown by him having major disagreements with many of the vocal locker rooms leaders (Quin, Slay, Diggs), leading to him shipping them off one way or another.
On the field, Detroit’s defense is regularly a bottom-three defense in the league which is a shame considering Patricia is supposed to be a brilliant defensive mind. Instead, his defenses have consistently given up over 330 yards of offense and over 22 points per game against them.
Breaking it down by season, Patricia’s defense gave up 22.5 points per game and 335 yards per game in his debut year as a head coach in 2018. Last year, Patricia led a defense that gave up 26.4 points per game and a whopping 400 yards per game.
Now, in his third year, the defense is getting even worse; they’ve given up 34.5 points per game and an astounding 425 yards per game through the first two weeks. And we’ve exactly nothing to think that the defense can get any better under Patricia for the rest of the year.
It’s not that he doesn’t have the talent. He does, general manager Bob Quinn has seen to that. Patricia simply just can’t cut it as a head coach in the NFL.
Looking at that offensive talent, Detroit features quarterback Matthew Stafford, receivers Kenny Golladay, T.J. Hockenson, and Marvin Jones Jr, runners Kerryon Johnson, D’Andre Swift, and Adrian Peterson, and franchise lineman Frank Ragnow and Taylor Decker.
That’s not even mentioning the players that look like solid to good starters in Danny Amendola, Jonah Jackson, and Joe Dahl. How Patricia can nuke an offense with all of that talent and more is beyond me.
And defensively, once again the raw talent is there, Patricia just hasn’t been able to mold it into a formidable crew. They have defensive linemen Trey Flowers and Da’Shawn Hand. They have former first and second-round picks Jarrad Davis and Jahlani Tavai.
They have the hand-picked Patricia playmakers in Jamie Collins and Duron Harmon. And the secondary has featured (or currently features) a group of talented defensive backs like Justin Coleman, Desmond Trufant, Jeff Okudah, Tracy Walker, Darius Slay (formerly), and Quandre Diggs (formerly).
The only aspect of the team that has even remotely looked good under Patricia is special teams. And even then, it’s largely due to rock-steady veterans Matt Prater and Don Muhlbach or highly regarded special teams’ coaches.
Patricia has shown nothing on or off the field that suggests he can right the ship.
Not only can Patricia not hold together a locker room or competently coach a team on the field, but he has also shown no growth or maturity as a head coach in any form. After the inexcusable fourth-quarter collapse last week, Patricia was asked about his teams’ troubling habit of blowing fourth-quarter leads on a regular basis.
His response was ignorant and incredulous, and quite frankly for many fans including myself, his smug response to the question whether it was something in his coaching that isn’t happening enough in the fourth quarter to close out games was incredibly angering. Here’s what he said according to MassLive.com.
"“Yeah, I don’t think so. I think I got probably one of the biggest plays in the fourth quarter in the history of the NFL where I think I did a pretty good job.”"
That answer just rings of ignorance, smugness, and immaturity; none of which Patricia has earned with his 9-24-1 record in Detroit. All of this points to a coach that is a lame-duck both on and off the field and needs to be fired and replaced as soon as possible.
After over two years of head-scratching and dumb decisions, Patricia’s time as the Lions’ head coach should be coming to an end, and if Quinn wants to keep his status as general manager, he’ll make that decision sooner rather than later.
Throwing out an educational guess, unless the Lions are 2-2 by the bye week in week five, the Lions should move on from Patricia no later than after the presumed week four loss. That would give them two weeks to prepare and acclimate to the new interim head coach.
The best candidate for that interim label would probably be Darrell Bevell, assuming Quinn definitely wants to hire from outside the organization this offseason. If he is seriously considering an internal option, then special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs could be given the promotion to interim head coach. Should the Lions look much improved under him, Quinn could give him serious consideration.
Regardless of the interim head coach, Matt Patricia absolutely needs to be given the boot sometime this season. And frankly, the sooner it happens, the better.