Former Lions Defender Explains What It’s Like to Play for Matt Patricia

Glover Quin

Getty Glover Quin embraces Jim Caldwell in 2017.

The Detroit Lions have had a tough go of it in the last two seasons in terms of adjusting to Matt Patricia, and finally, someone is stepping up to provide a window into what has happened behind closed doors with the coach.

Former safety Glover Quin, who played with Patricia in 2018 before he retired, recently joined the Surf & Turf Podcast from Barstool Sports and explained what it was like to meet Patricia for the first time and play for the coach.

As he said, Patricia is a good person, but he has an edge about him in the building which can make it difficult to deal with him.

“He’s a very nice guy. He’ll talk to you. He makes it easy to talk to. Seems like he cares a lot about people, so he definitely had that quantity. But then all of a sudden you get on the practice field, the meeting room, a switch goes off and he’s a completely different guy,” Quin said in the clip.

According to Quin, Patricia wanted to put his stamp on the team very early upon coming to the Lions, and came in with an attitude immediately.

“I think one of the biggest things is humility. (Jim) Caldwell came in and basically changed the culture humbly. I feel like Patricia came in, and he came from New England, and they have whatever,” Quin said. “I think instead of him coming in and humbly gaining the respect of the players, I think he came in and kind of had a negative attitude about Detroit. Like, kind of probably what most of the world thinks about that.”

Quin admitted that he had seen plenty of change in Detroit going from Jim Schwartz to Jim Caldwell to Patricia as a head coach, and he felt the team was in a bit better shape than Patricia may have given them credit for upon coming to Detroit.

“I kind of felt like from 2013-2017, the culture in Detroit had changed. The culture was different. We went to two playoff games, we were right at 9-7, I think we had a year we went 10-6. We were right there playing against Green Bay at the end for division titles, so wasn’t like we were a dumpster fire of a team,” he said. “We had a good quarterback, good offensive pieces, a good defense. I kind of felt like Patricia came in and thought everything here is trash and I just have to do a total re-haul of everything.”

Patricia, for his part, has maintained that it takes time to change a culture completely and get a program going, and it’s true tons of the players speaking out were more comfortable with Caldwell’s style of leadership and change is to be expected. Still, Quin’s comments are interesting. Obviously, the team is gambling on Patricia’s style eventually paying off and leading the franchise over the top, even if it still hasn’t.

The biggest question is if the Lions will give Patricia more time to continue to reshape the team in his image, no matter how different it may be.

Glover Quin’s Stats

Quin speaking up on these matters is interesting, because he was a well-respected member of the team and the community while playing with the Lions. Quin decided after 2018 he didn’t have anything else and want to continue, but prior to that decision, he was a decorated player with the team that put up some great statistics.

Quin would finish with 740 total tackles, 24 interceptions, 84 passes defended and 2 touchdowns. More than that, he remains a guy who is one of the more revered former Lions given all he did for the community.

Matt Patricia’s Lions Tenure

Patricia came to the Lions fresh off success in New England in 2018, and struggled out of the gate to capture the attention of the locker room. A bumpy start paved the way to a more solid finish in 2018 with the team only winning six games, but defeating squads like the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers, which offered hope.

Patricia has helped the Lions stay in games for the most part in 2019, something which the team struggled with in 2018, but has not gotten them over the hump at closing. That’s perhaps his biggest wart so far as a boss, combined with a lousy defense that has not picked up the program whatsoever. Patricia might get more of a pass considering the absurd amount of injuries he’s dealt with, but it’s hard to ignore that in his tenure as coach, the Lions have had the same discipline problems plague them that always have through the years.

The bet is that both Patricia and Quinn get a mulligan on 2019 considering the rash of injuries that have set the team back, while also living with the understanding that 2020 is likely the make or break year for this group.

Patricia keeps maintaining the Lions are better than their record says and the franchise is close to being on the right track. Plenty of the changes made from when Quin was in Detroit have been dramatic to detail, and only time will tell if they will pay off as the team hopes.

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