The Detroit Lions are widely referred to as a project by Matt Patricia when he took over, but the fact remains the coach inherited a team that was 9-7 and ready to take the next step toward consistent playoff contention and winning.
That hasn’t happened during the coach’s tenure in Detroit, and the progress that was made under Jim Caldwell seems to have been reversed in a big way. Most understand Patricia has made Detroit worse, but there is a new stat many folks might not realize that puts it into full perspective perfectly.
Since he’s been the coach in 2018, Patricia has never managed to have his team in anything but last place by the time December rolls around.
Number of days Matt Patricia has spent not in last place in December for his career: 0.
— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) November 24, 2020
This fact might not seem so scathing, but it’s important to remember that Patricia’s stated goal was to have the Lions in position to win the NFC North and be playoff competitive late in the season. Being in last place all the time certainly doesn’t help this out, and it’s clear that his team has constantly had to play catch up late in season and try to rally mostly to no avail.
Under Caldwell, typically, the Lions were in contention until late in the season and were playing plenty of meaningful December games. It’s been a reversal in a major way from that.
Patricia came from a winning program in New England, but in Detroit, he’s been a last place coach. At his point, saying that isn’t being melodramatic, but merely stating a well understood fact.
Matt Patricia’s Lions’ Tenure
This stat is simply just another in the glaring bunch that is the coach’s current tenure in Detroit. Not only does Patricia have a losing record with the team, he’s only beaten one NFC North foe and continues to struggle against teams with winning records. His biggest win may have come when he beat New England in his first season with the Lions, but since, Patricia has had nothing but a bunch of near misses. The team has only gotten worse since Patricia has taken over, and out of all the stats which prove this, it’s possible that being a consistent last place coach sums up the tenure better than anything.
Matt Patricia Downplays Job Security
Patricia has been asked a lot in recent days about his future, and if he has had any conversations with the Ford family with regards to his future. As per usual, he sticks to a script when answering the question from the media and doesn’t divulge anything about the conversations. As he said this past week, he is merely focused on the next game and anything else is outside noise.
“Look, our focus right now is on Houston. Any conversations I’ve had with ownership, I always keep those private. You guys know that, so from that standpoint, just got a quick turnaround here, trying to get ready for Houston. There’s questions that come up every week. I try to do the best I can to answer them, so right now it’s about Houston.”
It sounds a lot like Bill Belichick, but the fact is, it’s a lot harder to make such commentary sound ingenious without a team that is capable of pulling off wins down the stretch. At this point, Patricia is seen as a last place coach that doesn’t explain himself nearly well enough.
Without some serious wins in 2020, this will be the case once again, and Patricia might end up finding himself unemployed.
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