Matt Patricia’s first season in Detroit didn’t turn out how the Lions had hoped, but it’s far too early to give up on him.
The Detroit Lions have good reason to feel discouraged after Matt Patricia’s first season as head coach. They hired Patricia, a former assistant for Bill Belichick in New England, with the hope that he could build off of consecutive 9-7 seasons under Jim Caldwell.
Instead, the Lions are heading into Week 17 at just 5-10, and have been out of the playoff discussion for weeks at this point. The hiring of Patricia was supposed to get them over the hump, possibly even moving them into the Super Bowl conversation.
As discouraging as it is, progress sometimes takes more time than expected to show up. Sometimes, you have to take a few steps backwards before you can move forward.
Patricia, himself, still believes in what he’s doing, and he’s not concerned about his job possibly being in danger.
“I’m pretty confident,” Patricia said, via The Detroit News. “Everything right now, for me, is just keep moving forward and getting ready for the game this weekend. Like I said, I meet with Mrs. Ford every week, so they’ve been great. Her and her family have been great.”
Backward progress isn’t ideal, especially considering who Patricia has been working with for most of his career. But he brings a brand new defensive-minded system, something the Lions have been sorely lacking.
Having been on Belichick’s staff for 14 years, and spending the last six as his defensive coordinator — winning two Super Bowls in that span — Patricia knows everything there is to know about good defensive football, and that’s exactly what Detroit needs.
The Lions need to keep the big picture in mind. More often than not, there are growing pains with a first-year head coach. Even Belichick went 5-11 during his first season with the Patriots.
If Patricia is the coach the Lions thought he was, eventually things will start to click. As the Philadelphia 76ers like to say, they just need to “trust the process.”