The Detroit Lions have scuffled and struggled to the tune of a 1-3 record so far this season, but according to some of the players, it’s on them and not necessarily the coaching staff.
Speaking to the media on Monday after a frustrating 35-29 loss to the New Orleans Saints which opened the floodgates of criticism against Matt Patricia and his staff, veteran safety Duron Harmon thinks more attention should be paid to the culpability of the players, who aren’t executing on the field which is harming the perception of the staff.
Obviously, the blame is twofold in this scenario. The players have been a big part of the frustration, but it’s not as if they have been organized and prepared in the best way. Harmon might vehemently disagree with that fact, but it’s no less true. Prepared teams wouldn’t make the kind of mistakes the Lions have that have led to a miserable 1-3 record so far this season. While the Lions might make millions of dollars to play, the coaching staff and front office makes millions to assemble that talent in the right way. If there’s any kind of a disconnect, that’s where problems occur.
If Harmon’s words prove anything, it’s that there are no current fractures in the locker room, at least with players who are loyal to the staff. They’re going to take accountability and try to find a way to right the ship themselves in the aftermath of the losing.
Whether or not it works is another question, but in the case of Harmon, it’s clear he wants to see more from his teammates.
Duron Harmon Stats
Duron Harmon Praised Matt Patricia’s Leadership
Harmon thinks that Patricia deserves a ton of credit for the team’s unified and positive response to the ongoing nationwide discussion this offseason. 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. Even in spite of the adversity on the field, he’d likely argue that Patricia is doing a good job and the players need to step up.
Duron Harmon Stats
Harmon, nicknamed “The Closer” thanks to his penchant for coming up with big plays late in games, has been a player who has been a big-play threat on the back end for New England for years. He’s put together 175 tackles, 17 interceptions and 28 pass deflections for the Patriots in his career.
Harmon joined the Patriots out of Rutgers as a third-round selection in 2013. He’s played his whole career in New England, so it’s safe to say that the move to Detroit was a shock. Harmon has handled it about as well as could be expected, though.
Now that he has re-joined Patricia, it’s clear Harmon will go to bat for his coach in a big way in the face of some adversity.