Giving some thoughts on Matt Patricia’s first day on the job.
It’s official, Lions fans. We didn’t get McDaniels’d. Bob Quinn and company had a goal to hire the guy who many perceived to be the best coaching option available, and they did it. That’s crazy if you think about.
The last two times the Lions needed to hire a brand new coach things went quite differently. In 2009, Jim Schwartz was the only guy willing to take the job. In 2013, the Lions had their hearts set on Ken Whisenhunt, and wound up going with Jim Caldwell after Ken spurned them. So again, for the Lions to go out and get their man, that’s a big deal.
After having to wait for the Patriots to lose in the Super Bowl, the Lions and their fans finally got to meet Matt Patricia at his first press conference as head coach on Wednesday afternoon. I took a lot out of this presser. Today I’d like to talk about the things that stood out to me, and how I feel some of them can translate to success.
Matt’s as cool as a cucumber, and has a personality too
The first one is not necessarily something that directly translates to winning, but it doesn’t hurt. Matt Patricia has a personality. Now, I respect Jim Caldwell and I can appreciate the things he accomplished here, but let’s be honest, Jim Caldwell wasn’t a song and dance man. He was quite the opposite.
Matt came in and just immediately commanded the room. He made jokes about being thankful that his children got their looks from their mom. He also took the chance to whip out his signature number two pencil and stick it behind his ear.
From a media standpoint, Matt’s not going to be Caldwell. Gone will be the days of “check the report” or “dungeon of doom.” I’m not saying he’ll give away information at will, but I am implying that he’s going to be a lot more fun to interact with.
From a team perspective, having a personality can endear you to your team. If the guys are having fun while also doing their job, everybody wins. But this doesn’t mean it’s a party.
It’s possible to have a personality and be no nonsense
Matt spoke a lot about being a high-character team that works together everywhere and just generally does things the right way. This is something that the Lions can carry over from their last coach. The culture in the building now is about professionalism and being treated like a man.
Matt is coming from a place where those ideals speak volumes. The entire philosophy behind the so called “Patriot Way” is every man working together and being selfless for the betterment of the team. If there’s a team that is primed to follow that mantra, it has to be the Lions in my opinion. But....
Matt seems very eager to just be Matt
When it came to questions about what Matt can take from Bill Belichick or what the Patriot Way means the Lions, Matt was eager to shut those questions down, and I can’t blame him. This is his narrative. Everything that Matt does with the Lions, especially in 2018, will be accompanied by questions about Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
Matt mentioned that there is a lot of work to be done before we can start talking about whose way is what. He also mentioned that Bill is Bill and Matt is Matt. It’s clear Patricia wants to be his own man here, and he should be. He did mention that there were certain lessons he learned from Bill that he will take with him, but the general consensus was that he’s Matt Patricia, and he doesn’t care about your narratives.
Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia could be a dangerous combonation
As we know, Matt Patricia spent the past 14 years of his career working in New England. What we also know is that Bob quinn was working in the same building for all 14 of those years. These guys don’t just know each other, they KNOW each other. This could make for a hell of a partnership.
When Bob Quinn took the job with the Lions, the big thing that caught my attention in his first press conference was that he wanted to fix the disconnect the Lions had between scouts and coaches. He brought in a whole new scouting department in 2016, and it was filled with employees that weren’t familiar with working for Jim Caldwell.
Now Quinn is with his guy. And by his guy, I mean it’s incredibly apparent to me that hiring Matt Patricia was always the plan from day one.
So now that he’s with a coach that’s like-minded in the scouting department, you have to believe that these guys will have a plan locked up to go out and get players that can do their jobs and do them well. With a duo like this on the exact same page, it could give the Lions a significant leg up in the NFL, because this sort of partnership is rare in the league.
Music to my freaking ears
I was already enjoying the press conference, but then Matt said something that made my ears perk up. He began to speak about how he wants to tailor his coaching style to what the players can do. That seems small at first, but it’s probably the biggest thing Matt said in the whole hour.
Scheming to players’ abilities is what we’ve all been yelling at the Lions to do for years. Don’t put Matthew Stafford in positions he can’t succeed in. Stop trying to force Theo Riddick to run the ball. Stop putting defensive ends in coverage. And on and on and on.
This changes a lot when it comes to the Lions, and it gives a little preview of how Patrica intends to run the team. Without any set scheme and a lot of moving parts that are tailored to players’ abilities, it would be pretty hard to mess that up.
He didn’t pander
This is the last little thing I noticed. It’s not that big of a deal, but I really appreciated Patricia not coming out and talking about Super Bowls and playoffs. He talked about building, and he talked about all the work the Lions need to do. This wasn’t a pep rally, this was a meet-and-greet.
That’s nice to see. I don’t blame coaches for coming in and talking about big goals. I get it. But it’s nice to be real. Don’t promise me anything. Talk is cheap. Just produce. Right now, I think Matt Patricia can do that.