Head coach Matt Patricia spoke to the media during his weekly press conference Monday following Sunday’s disappointing 34-30 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Patricia said Monday was a tough day going through the film because there were opportunities for that game to shift in Detroit’s favor had a few more plays been made. He said both the coaches and the players felt the same way. He also said it’s a game they’ll learn from.
Up next for the Lions is their bye week.
What is the biggest thing to accomplish over the bye week?
First and foremost the bye week is a good opportunity for players dealing with injury to rest up and get healthy. The bye is coming at a good time in that regard for players like quarterback Matthew Stafford (hip), cornerback Darius Slay (hamstring), safety Quandre Diggs (hamstring), defensive tackle Mike Daniels (foot), wide receiver Danny Amendola (chest), defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand (elbow) and a number of other players dealing with nagging injuries.
For Patricia and the coaching staff, however, they have an eye on self-scouting and fixing the things they didn’t do so well the first four weeks of the season.
“I know everyone is going to have an eye forward, which we need to with the division coming up, but for us it’s really about improving the things that we’ve not done so well in the first four (games),” Patricia said.
“Now with four games under our belt for the season, we know those games are going to be highly scrutinized and looked at by other teams and other opponents. Those are things that we have to fix first and foremost. That’s kind of where our focus will be here immediately.”
What are Patricia’s thoughts on the first four games and the team’s 2-1-1 record?
Patricia admitted he saw a lot of bad football being played through the month of September, but that was league-wide and not uncommon for the month.
The Lions are 2-1-1 heading into the bye with the goal of eliminating or at least reducing the number of bad football plays they had through the first four games.
“I think we’ve talked a lot about September football and what that looks like in the NFL,” Patricia said. “There are a lot of bad plays out there. There are some good plays and a lot of really important situational plays. I think those are the ones we’re trying to learn from.
“We’ve done well in some of those situations and we’ve done not so well in others. We can build off of that. We really are just working to eliminate the bad football – keep trying to get to good football, consistent football.”
Patricia said one of the things he really likes from the first four weeks is the process they’ve developed for getting ready for Sunday.
“We understand what the work is that has to go in week in, week out in order to prepare and get ready to go, and that’s really important to us – is that process and being consistent because that’s how we improve,” he said.
Is Stafford’s injury one he’ll have to manage long-term, or will the bye week be a big help for him?
Stafford injured the hip on Friday and was questionable to play Sunday vs. Kansas City, though he made the start and threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns.
He did look hampered and in pain at times.
“I think a month into the NFL season, everyone has something that they’re dealing with,” Patricia said. “Whether they deal with it for a prolonged period of time or whether it is day-to-day or sometimes maybe it’s a couple weeks in, and then finally turns the corner. We’ll see. Everybody’s a little bit different on all of that.
“(Stafford) goes out every single week, shows up and works hard, and does everything he can to help this team win. He did that yesterday, too. Probably pretty normal from an NFL standpoint.”
Is running back Kerryon Johnson the new workhorse in the Lions backfield?
Johnson carried the ball 26 times for 125 yards. The 26 carries were 22 more than the next highest ball carrier, J.D. McKissic.
Patricia has always said he prefers a running-back-by-committee approach and doesn’t want to lean too heavily on one back. So why the big discrepancy this week?
“I think it was really just a product of the game to be honest with you,” Patricia said. “I think it was something where he was running really well, and then really honestly for the situation that came up where we had the swing there with the fumble on the goal line, just thought it was a confidence thing for me to get him back out there and get him going again.
“I thought he really stepped up to that challenge, and that was good to see out of a young player. For him to just take that and want to be back in that situation and want to get going. Then the game was just flowing in that direction, so I thought it was good, but those other guys contributed well in their roles. Just, I would say, that was more of that one particular game situation.”
How much does Patricia like the depth and skill at safety?
Detroit lost Quandre Diggs to a hamstring injury early Sunday, but didn’t skip a beat in terms of the packages they use with their safeties. Tavon Wilson’s role increased and rookie Will Harris stepped in. Detroit was still able to play the packages they wanted had Diggs been in the game.
“I think the safety position is kind of one of the critical ones I think in the NFL right now,” Patricia said. “Just again, maybe a little bit of that plays off of the multiplicity of the tight ends that we talk about all the time in the NFL. They are kind of the two groups, I would say, that have the most variance in what they do.
“I think Will (Harris), again for a young player, prepared really hard and stepped in and really did a good job from that standpoint of filling the roles. C.J. Moore had to go out there and didn’t miss a beat either. I think everybody on really all three phases just know that we only have so many guys active for the game, and if your number is called you have to go out and perform at a high level.”