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O'HARA: Why fundamentals are so important

Matt Patricia cranked up the volume and the tempo of the Detroit Lions' offseason workouts, leaving no doubt about whether things will be different under his command as head coach.

What was not so obvious to a casual observer is how Patricia focuses on the nuances of individual positions.

Winning performances come from learning and executing the details. The offseason workouts, without pads and contact, present an opportunity to teach fundamentals.

As he moved from unit to unit, it was obvious that Patricia relishes the expanded opportunity as head coach to work with the full 90-player roster, and not be limited to one position or one side of the ball.

That was the case in the 14 seasons he spent as an assistant with the New England Patriots before coming to Detroit. He was an offensive assistant for two years before moving to defense for the last 12.

Patricia looked like a roving instructor at times, giving hands-on attention to different positions.

"I love it because you get to actually reach out and get to be a part of all the different groups on the field," he said during minicamp. "Even as an assistant coach, you're always forming relationships with everybody across the board.

"This is just a great opportunity for me to go hands-on on the field – go see their work, see how they improve.

"Just in general as a coach, you want to be out there coaching. And I get to do it in a lot of different facets instead of just one, which is great."

Stressing details and nuances in everything from footwork to hand position to vision is important in offseason workouts.

"That's the biggest thing right now," Patricia said. "We actually have time to talk about a lot of the details, and the details of the specific position."

Patricia referenced some factors that make an impact on teaching, which maximizes the importance of using the time that's available.

Patricia pointed out how the tempo accelerates in the regular season – "where everything's happening at such a rapid pace."

"Even with practice with the limited amount of time that we'll be able to have from an individual standpoint ... you have to get the scheme and some different looks there," he said.

Not all details involve obvious things such as getting in position to tackle, or proper footwork.

"Sometimes it's just eye control, or something like that, that people don't really understand a lot about," he said. "You've got to make sure the eyes are placed in the right position.

"I talked about this before with the offensive line. You're talking about guys who've got to see a picture from the same set of eyes. Punt protection is the same way. There are a lot of details there that we can work on now."

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