The Detroit Lions and Matt Patricia are in a particular kind of conundrum. After two seasons on the job, the coach is 9-19 as a head coach in the league, and Detroit is failing to meet expectations on the field.
To some, that means the Lions need to make a move and fire perhaps not only the coach, but general manager Bob Quinn as well. To others, more time could be needed to judge Patricia given it’s only his second season leading the team as a boss.
Why are the Lions where they are at? There’s one simple reason the team is even having to deal with these issues right now and it has nothing to do with injuries. Detroit just doesn’t beat good teams on the field under Patricia no matter who is starting in between the lines. Consider this stat recently shared by Jimmy Kempski. Detroit is one of nine other teams not to beat a squad with a winning record in 2019.
2018 was a bit different in Patricia’s first season at the helm when the Lions knocked off the New England Patriots at home, but otherwise, the stat held mostly true last season as well. Detroit beat Green Bay twice, Miami, Carolina and Arizona to finish their season 6-10.
In two seasons, Patricia has one win over a team with a winning record to his credit. The Lions have been close, but not close enough. Perhaps that’s the most glaring reason the coach is being looked at so critically after a struggle in 2019.
Why Matt Patricia Can’t Win With Lions
Is a talent gap or a coaching gap at play? Logic says it’s a combination of both. Quinn has drafted well enough and worked the waiver wire decently, but things aren’t translating from there to the field. Injuries have played a role, but sometimes, that only serves to shine more of a light on the front office. Why has Detroit not been able to find more key replacements in order to keep the ship afloat better? Other teams have managed to field capable replacements.
These are the questions Quinn and Patricia will have to answer when they likely meet with management at season’s end to decide where the team proceeds. One fact that can’t be ignored is the fact that Detroit just doesn’t match up with the best of the best, and hasn’t in Quinn’s entire tenure as boss to this point in time.
A few years after Quinn proclaimed 9-7 not good enough, having just one win against teams with winning records is a very troubling statistic to note.
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.
If things end badly for Patricia, the coach need only blame himself and his team’s inability to get over the hump against quality competition.
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