Detroit Lions: Is Matt Patricia The Right Coach For The Lions?

As the Head Coach, Matt Patricia currently holds a 9-22-1 record in his two seasons with the Detroit Lions. This looks even worse when you consider the previous coach Jim Caldwell, was let go after a 9-7 season and two playoff appearances in his four year tenure. The 2020 season will be Patricia’s make or break year, as Lions fans are growing impatient. While the record is a glaring problem, the biggest issue may be Patricia’s relationships with the players.

On Thursday the Detroit Lions completed a trade that sent their star Corner Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles, in exchange for a third and fifth round draft pick in this years draft. Once the trade was finalized, Slay took the opportunity to let the country know what he thought of his former Head Coach Matt Patricia.

“He said I wasn’t an elite corner and that I’m not in their category. I was coming off an All-Pro year, eight picks. That told me right there that he didn’t have no respect for me. He told me I was a good player, but then to tell me what I’m not, so I said, OK.”

Darius Slay on a one-on-one meeting with Matt Patricia after Slay finished working out with Richard Serman, Aqib Talib, and Xavier Rhodes.

This conversation took place before Patricia had coached a game for the Detroit Lions. It got worse as during Training camp Slay had a rough day at practice and afterwards posted a picture on social media. The said picture was of Slay and the receiver that had worked him in the practice. Later that day at a team meeting, the picture along with a short highlight tape was shown from the earlier practice and Patricia told Slay to stop kissing up to other players. That’s when the relationship between the coach and player was no longer salvageable.

“Yeah. Right there, after that, that’s when all my respect went out the door for him. As a man”

Darius Slay after Coach Patricia showed a social media picture and short highlight video of Slay after a rough practice
Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (23) reacts after intercepting a pass in the third quarter of their NFL game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field in Detroit, on Thursday, November 28, 2019. The Bears won the game, 24-20. The Lions are now 3-8-1 on the season. (Mike Mulholland | MLive.com)

Darius Slay wasn’t the only player to show disdain for the Lions Head Coach, as recently retired Safety Glover Quin has also let his opinions be known. In an interview with Pat McAfee Quin let it be known that he does not know if the Lions can win with Matt Patricia’s coaching style, which falls under the tough love umbrella. As evidenced by Glover Quin’s quotes, it doesn’t seem like the players are all-in on Patricia and trust him to make them a winning football team

“Right now, they’re struggling. They’re struggling and it’s not a great situation. And it’s not a situation where like, I don’t know if they can fight out of it right now because I don’t know if the love and the like for Patricia’s style make the players want to fight out of it”

Glover Quin on the “Pat McAfee Show” describing how he viewed the Lions after his final season

This season will tell us if Patricia is just another Bill Belichick disciple that cannot make it on his own, or if he can build and lead a team to the playoffs. When the season kicks off, you can bet that Matt Patricia’s name will be on the hot seat lists that come out, and frankly he does deserve to be on it. This season will be playoffs or bust for Patricia’s head coaching career. The Lions have been very active early on in the free agency period, so there can be no excuses unless Matthew Stafford goes down again. Even if Stafford is not healthy, the Head Coach always becomes the person of blame. After this season the Detroit Lions will either be a playoff team or a team looking for a new head coach

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