The Detroit Lions are in some trouble as it relates to their fortunes in 2020 following an 0-2 start and already there are some looming questions beginning to arise about Matt Patricia’s future with the team.
Patricia was said to be on a short leash entering 2020 where the understanding was his team needed to compete for the postseason in order for him to keep his job. So far, that doesn’t look close to happening after the start to the season, and as a result, Patricia’s tenure could be taking on water quickly.
Veteran NFL analyst Peter King had plenty to say about this in a recent Football Morning in America piece following Detroit’s blowout loss on the road in Week 2. As he admitted, a major theme to emerge already in 2020 is the fact that it’s merely September and Patricia looks finished in Detroit.
“The Lions have lost 11 in a row, and they’re the worst finishers since 2019 Edwin Diaz. In Week 1, they blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead and lost to the Mitchell Trubisky Bears. In Week 2, they blew an early 14-3 lead in Green Bay and lost by 21. Predictably, all the Lions stuck by their coach in the aftermath, but what are they going to say? The most troublesome thing about the Lions is that Patricia was considered a brilliant defensive mind and tactician in New England, and he just can’t get the defense right in Detroit.
The next two weeks likely won’t help. Detroit is at the 2-0 Cardinals, with the 1-0 Saints (playing tonight) coming to Detroit in Week 4. Then Detroit has its bye. There’s no way the franchise would fire him at 0-4 this year and 9-26-1 in his tenure, is there? Doubtful, but clearly, Patricia doesn’t have a lot of time to save his job, not when the Cleveland Browns have five more wins than Patricia since opening day 2018.”
Patricia might not lose his job early in the season, but if the losing continues, King is right in his notion that it might be difficult to keep him long term as a result of what has gone on during the games. The blown leads are piling up, and making it look like an epidemic this staff cannot get out of their locker room. At 9-24-1, Patricia doesn’t have the record to inspire confidence in a quick turnaround, either.
2020 was supposed to be a fresh start for Patricia and his Lions, but the only constant has been more ugly losses. These trends, if they continue, don’t point to the Lions climbing out of their current hole enough to save Patricia from his eventual doom.
Terry Bradshaw: Matt Patricia Not Making Lions Better
That’s something which former NFL quarterback turned Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw would agree with. Speaking on Sunday, Bradshaw admitted that he doesn’t understand how Patricia has made the Lions any better than the team he took over from Jim Caldwell. Additionally, Bradshaw said the Lions are wasting Matthew Stafford’s prime as a result of this.
Terry Bradshaw brought up Jim Caldwell on FOX’s pregame show. He criticized Matt Patricia.
“If you ask me, it’s pretty simple. When a coach comes in, he makes a difference. This guy has not made a difference. This quarterback is being wasted.”
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 20, 2020
Patricia is 9-24-1 as coach of the Lions and has had the team close to competing and winning games, but close doesn’t get the job done whatsoever in the NFL. Stafford has taken some steps forward within Darrell Bevell’s offense, but Patricia’s bread and butter was defense. So far, Detroit’s defense has only gotten worse during his entire tenure as head coach.
Will the Lions elect to make a move if Patricia continues to struggle? It’s more than possible, and if they do, it would represent the team starting over yet again, just like they did when they hired Patricia.
That’s what happens when a plan doesn’t come together, something Bradshaw would admit is happening.
Lions Players Backing Matt Patricia
After Sunday’s 42-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers, which was equally as frustrating as Detroit’s Week 1 defeat albeit for different reasons, players spoke after the game and admitted that they’re not fractured whatsoever when it comes to Matt Patricia.
According to running back Kerryon Johnson, he doesn’t just back his coach 100 percent, but 200 percent thanks to the time they put in for preparation’s sake and all the hard work they do.
Kerryon Johnson also backs Patricia, said he has 200 percent confidence in the coaching staff. Said this staff works unbelievable hours, they can't work any harder. Said it's about players fulfilling what the coaching staff wants/expects.
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) September 20, 2020
Quarterback Matthew Stafford agreed, ignoring the question totally and saying the team simply has to start to play better and execute better on the field, implying it’s not an issue of coaching whatsoever.
Asked about confidence in Matt Patricia, Matthew Stafford said he's confident, the team just needs to play better.
About what you'd expect from Stafford.
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) September 20, 2020
Patricia’s future is going to come into focus the rest of the season if the Lions continue to lose games and their struggles mount. That will really be the case if the team begins to lose games in which it looks like the team gave up.
If the players are to be believed, though, that won’t happen which means the squad remains on board with Patricia as coach and are unified in that approach.
Regardless of that, if the losing continues, Patricia could figure to be in some hot water eventually.