The Detroit Lions sit bottom of the NFC North; and it’s time for Matt Patricia to go.
The Detroit Lions are once again bottom of the NFC North; the team got outplayed by the Vikings on Sunday in Week 9, which has left them with a 3-5 record. The offseason mandate from ownership was to be playing “meaningful” games in December. That is not going to happen. But that won’t surprise Lions fans; we have been here before.
However, it wasn’t supposed to be like this — not this year, anyway. It is year three for head coach Matt Patricia. It was the year the franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford, was meant to be back to his best after injury. It was the year where all the former Patriots were supposed to arrive and fix the defense.
“It was” — those famous two words that reverberate around the Motor City from September to December every year. The Detroit Lions were a three-win team last year and are no better this year, and the culpable man is Patricia.
Patricia was supposed to be the answer for the Lions, the genius coordinator who was supposed to take the Lions over the top and towards a division title. The man that was supposed to make the Detroit Lions a smart, tough team to play. These Lions are anything but that.
They are an abject ill-disciplined team, and it has been for three years. Patricia has totaled 12 wins in three seasons. This was the man meant to take Detroit forward. He has taken them back to the basement of the division. Meaningful games in December, I don’t think so. Fans are now looking towards the 2021 NFL Draft, just as Lions fans have done for the past 20 seasons.
In his three years in charge, there has been zero progression, only regression. 2018 saw the team go 6-10 and the defense was middle of the pack. But we could brush that off due to a new coach and a new system. Wrong; the cracks were already there.
Patricia alienated veterans like Glover Quinn and Quandre Diggs. The constant barking and tough guy he tried to be didn’t work. The Belichick protege tried to be Belichick-lite and the foundations had already cracked.
2019 saw the team go 3-12-1 as the bottom truly fell out, and the Detroit Lions landed themselves a top-three draft pick. But Patricia put that down to quarterback Matt Stafford being hurt. And he had a point, though his defense plunged to historic levels of terrible as everybody beat up on the Lions. This 2020 NFL season was supposed to be different.
The 2020 Detroit Lions season was now or never for Matt Patricia.
Patricia barely survived last season. This year had to be a winning season; Bob Quinn went all-in on bringing as many former Patriot players on the defense as he could. This was going to fix this defense — except it hasn’t gotten any better.
The defense can’t rush the passer, can’t tackle and cant cover. Sometimes the Lions don’t even have enough people on the field, as we saw on Dalvin Cook‘s touchdown that came from a screen pass. Nobody was expecting the Detroit Lions to be Super Bowl winners this year but can we please see some progress?
The defense has gotten worse and the constant that has been here for the last three years is still here. Patricia can’t coach defense. He may able to talk about it but he is unable to communicate that to his players.
He is too stubborn to change his gameplan and his philosophies. In 2020, that is incredibly naive. The best teams consistently evolve, adapt and tailor their gameplans to the opponent. That is what fans were promised when Patricia came in. We have gotten none of that.
Opposing teams can diagnose the Lions’ gameplan after one offensive and defensive drive. The offensive talent is being constricted by desperation to establish the run using a 35-year-old runner who isn’t a power back, Adrian Peterson. The defense is rush three and drop everyone back on passing plays while the linebacker corps may be one of the worst tackling groups in the league when opponents run.
Detroit Lions fans have suffered through three years of terrible, clueless football. The New England experiment has failed. Conversations need to be happening now as to how the Lions build for next year. Given the number of teams rooted at the bottom of the NFL, the Lions higher-ups need to make decisions ASAP.
There are plenty of teams looking for new coaches and there are several exciting coaching prospects out there. The Lions have to act fast. As long as they are stuck with Patricia, the team is stuck in a ditch of mediocrity as they watch their rivals race past. The harsh Midwest winter is coming and the harsh reality needs to show Matt Patricia the door.