Matt Patricia has seen his Detroit Lions‘ defense under the gun in 2019, but he is not pondering a firing to help turn things around.
According to Patricia, he is behind defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and does not anticipate taking over the play calling duties or making a change at coordinator for the rest of the 2019 season.
Speaking on a conference call to reporters including Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Patricia explained that while the struggles have been tough, he isn’t looking to make a knee jerk move with Pasqualoni at this point and he will stick in his role with the team. Here’s what he said in Birkett’s piece:
“I think it’s important for me to continue to try to do my best as the head coach to manage the game and make sure that I’m paying attention to all the phases and things that I see as the game goes on that need to be either corrected or addressed, or just kind of confirmed or handled,” Patricia said in a conference call Monday. “So I don’t really see any of that changing right now.”
Patricia reiterated Monday that as head coach he retains the right to call plays on offense, defense or special teams within a game whenever he feels necessary, but he said Pasqualoni, the long-time former Syracuse head coach, is doing “a great job” running the defense.
“Certainly there’s situations where he and I have either talked about calls or there might be calls that I feel that we want to make in certain situations, but the good part about being the head coach is that you can make those calls in any three phases of the game,” Patricia said. “Obviously, a lot more of that can and will happen on defense, but Coach Pasqualoni’s doing a great job of trying to get all that organized.”
Detroit’s defense this season has been dreadful statistically and has played as big a role as anything in the team’s below average 3-4-1 start to the year. In spite of this, it’s no surprise that Patricia would remain loyal to Pasqualoni, a good friend of his.
Matt Patricia’s Defensive Fix
Instead of making a snap judgement firing, Patricia has maintained in the past that the ones is on him as a coach to communicate better.
If there’s anyone who knows the value of defense to a team, it’s Patricia, who has presided over some of the better groups in the league. According to Patricia, though, the Lions have to focus in on the fundamentals.
“We got to just keep pounding away to get it better,” Patricia told the media honestly a few weeks back. The statement was specifically about the rush defense, but it could have been a metaphor for the whole entire group.
How does Patricia propose that? By staying aggressive as a teacher and emphasizing what the Lions can do better in terms of fundamentals. As he admitted to the media, he believes in Detroit’s scheme, but thinks the team needs to find a way to continue to improve. As he said, he believes that falls on him as a teacher with some of the things that he can emphasize week to week for Detroit to improve upon.
If there’s one side of the ball where things have been lacking and must turn around, it’s on the defense. The team isn’t rushing the passer well, is playing poorly on the back end and as a whole, simply isn’t generating the type of consistent effort they need in order to win big and have a consistent effort.
Thus far, complaints about the team’s offense have been minimal. The fact of the matter is, if the Lions played consistent, winning defense, it would cover up a lot of the minor troubles they’ve had offensively. The defensive side of the ball is why Matt Patricia was brought to Detroit in the first place, and it’s why he must clean that up most of all for the team to have a successful future.
According to Patricia, he simply has to communicate better in order for things to translate on the field.
Lions Schedule Provides Some Hope
Those looking for a defensive turnaround might only look to the schedule and possibly see one on the horizon. Detroit will play the woeful Chicago Bears in two of their next four games. Another contest will be against the equally woeful Washington Redskins. While there is a battle with the Dallas Cowboys mixed in, in four of Detroit’s next six games, they will compete against offenses they theoretically should be able to shut down.
There’s a reason games aren’t played on paper, but at the very least, the Lions have hope that they could turn things around. Perhaps that is why Patricia is reluctant to make a snap judgement scapegoat firing as it relates to his team.
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