The Detroit Lions‘ defense was run into the ground by the previous regime. New defensive coordinator, Aaron Glenn will try to overcome its weaknesses with its only strength.
Three years ago Matt Patricia rode the coattails of then-general manager Bob Quinn into town. Patricia had been the defensive coordinator for the powerful New England Patriots under Bill Belichick and Quinn sold Martha Firestone Ford and the city of Detroit on the idea that Patricia would save football in the Motor City.
Suffice it to say, Matt Patricia fell short of what Bob Quinn sold to the Lions fan base and ownership. Not only did Quinn and Patricia fail, but they took a team that was relatively competitive and turned them into a dumpster fire as well as dropping an already poor culture from decades of ineptitude to about as rock bottom as it can get.
The 2008 Detroit Lions went 0-16, yet despite the complete lack of talent, their morale under Rod Marinelli was sky-high compared to the locker room Patricia left behind. The ‘my way or the highway’ card only works if Bill Belichick is the head coach.
We live in a day and age where players have more say in the game than ever. Iron-fisted coaches have to earn the ability to be iron-fisted. Whether the coaches, media, or fans like it, that is today’s NFL.
In the case of Matt Patricia who promptly got under the skin of his players, he had to produce immediately in order to get the Lions locker room to fall in line. Unfortunately, he and Bob Quinn did more rebuilding than anyone expected. Combined with Patricia bringing his version of the Patriots defense with him which seemed to be too complex for his staff to teach or the players to learn, the success never occurred.
Part of the problem was the inability to acquire good defensive players. Another problem was Patricia’s belief that his system was more important than the players on the field actually trying to execute it. His belief that he could plug in any ex-Patriot and it would work failed.
As a result, the Lions didn’t win and both Quinn and Patricia were sent packing. The one thing that everyone expected would come out of the Matt Patricia era was that the defense would improve. Instead, Patricia failed at his specialty and has left behind a defensive mess for Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell to clean up.