The Detroit Lions, like the rest of the NFL, have had to deal with a virtual offseason which has brought about remarkable change.
In the case of the Lions, however, Matt Patricia is happy with what the team has done so far and even impressed with the team’s ability to adapt and have a successful offseason. According to Patricia in a piece by Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, he wasn’t sure what would happen around the draft.
Breer went in depth with Patricia about what the team was able to do. Interestingly enough, the coach details how face to face meetings in virtual reality helped the team hone in on goals they wanted to accomplish while also helping the coach connect with his players more.
“Suffice it to say, by the time the Lions were doing this part of their offseason program, Patricia had come a long way from where he was around the draft, when he was wondering what they’d be able to get done with the players through the technology.
“I tried to lower the expectations, because we were all just so new to it, we didn’t know how it was gonna work,” he said. “I just thought in general we’d have a lot of problems. I thought there’d be a lot of technical issues, I thought it’d be hard for the players. And really in the end, the players were phenomenal. They were much more adaptable than the coaches were from that standpoint, because they’re just so used to all the different technologies.
“And I was really impressed with their commitment to it all the way through.”
Patricia setting his expectations low and leaving more impressed with the outcomes shows just how good his team reacted and was able to push through a tough time. That should leave fans excited for when the team gets to work for real on the field.
Matt Patricia Happy With Lions Virtual Offseason
Recently, Patricia headed back into the Lions facility for the first time in a long time by himself. The video shows what a person looking to do that has to go through including a health check and temperature screening. Once inside, however, things are fairly normal aside from nobody else being around.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) June 19, 2020
Patricia, however, is very excited for 2020 based on what the team has already showed him at this point in time through the offseason, something he touched on in the video.
“We’ve got an amazing group of guys who did and unbelievable job through the spring, Patricia said. “With the virtual meetings, guys were into it, they were attentive. We were able to kind of move through different phases of the offseason. Really very impactful, very powerful and some guys sharing some great things. Getting a chance to know everybody in a little bit of a different environment was kind of cool to see into their own personal lives. It was amazing.”
Next for the Lions is the traditional summer break before training camp gets underway in late July. That’s a moment Patricia is more than ready for at this point.
“I can’t wait to get these guys in there, to get in a meeting to hug them up and just get rolling and get into football. We got a bunch of great guys and I’m excited to just get to work with them.”
The hope, certainly, is the Lions get to show off what they have been working on that has Patricia so excited.
Duron Harmon Lauds Matt Patricia’s Leadership
Duron Harmon thinks that Patricia deserves a ton of credit for the team’s unified and positive response to the ongoing nationwide discussion. As he said in a recent interview with DetroitLions.com, Patricia should be praised for his handling of the situation and his allowing for the team to share their viewpoints openly and putting football on the back burner for the time being.
“I believe we’ve been going a lot deeper than some other teams. Obviously I can’t speak for other teams, I’m just speaking off the experiences we’ve had,” he said. “We’ve had conversations each and every day last week. Matty P did a great job brining attention to the team last Friday. He’s given us an opportunity as black men to express our frustrations and for our white brothers in there, to give an opportunity to learn what we go through. Give them experiences that we went through because some people are oblivious, right wrong or indifferent. It’s been really powerful.”
According to Harmon, the reason the team has been able to have such discussions is Patricia setting the tone at the top and letting the players dictate the conversation and where it goes.
“(It starts) with the leadership of Matty P. We started phase 3 last week but with everything going on, how can you truly focus on football? I think he understood that and we were appreciative of that as a team,” Harmon said. “It’s been great conversations from top to bottom. We’ve been able to grow as a team. At the end of the day, this is a team sport and if you can truly commit to each other and love each other no matter your race, gender, anything, that’s how a team really creates a brotherhood and the wins will come off of that.”
Plenty of Lions have spoken out powerfully following a week of discussions and Patricia himself admitted the events have touched him deeply. That’s led to a situation where the team has come together in a very powerful way.
As Harmon said, what Patricia has done could only bring the team together tighter ahead of the 2020 season. That, combined with the team’s work, should have everyone excited.