It’s been 130 days since Matt Patricia officially took over as head coach of the Detroit Lions.
So, what has he learned about the job so far that he maybe didn’t know 130 days ago?
“Kind of everything,” Patricia said. “Everything is new, everything is different. You get divided in a couple different ways from what needs to be done from a team standpoint.”
The promotion from coordinator to head coach in the NFL is a big move. As a head coach, Patricia now has a hand in every facet of this team. That’s a big adjustment to make.
As the defensive coordinator in New England the last six seasons, Patricia earned a reputation as a savvy x’s and o’s defensive mind with a workhorse mentality to film prep and the ability to uniquely set up a game plan off that study.
“You’d love to be involved more with every minute of football, x’s and o’s that’s out there, but you just can’t,” he said of being a head coach. “The requirements are different.”
Patricia is implementing new schemes, all while trying to change the culture here in Detroit. He has his own style, and we’ve already seen it’s much different than his predecessors.
“He’s a guy that’s going to push you and try to bring the best out of you every day,” veteran cornerback Nevin Lawson said of Patricia.
“The intensity is very high. There’s no room to slack at all. If you slack, then I feel like you will be exposed. There’s a sense of urgency to get better ... sense of urgency to be better than we were before.”
The high intensity Patricia brings to the job is something second-year tight end Michael Roberts has already noticed as well.
“Coach Patricia is an intense guy,” he said after Monday’s OTA practice. “He’s a smart guy. Things were done differently last year, so he comes in with his way of doing things and it’s about locking in, buying in and ultimately becoming a winning team.”
Patricia told the story last week of some advice he got a while back at the NFL symposium from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who said time management as a young head coach is one of the most critical things to adjusting to the job.
“I’ve taken that note to heart and make sure I’ve scheduled out, ‘I’m looking at these position groups this period. I’m going here. I want to check on the fundamentals here. I want to make sure we’re evaluating this if there’s group that I haven’t been around,’” Patricia said.
“Sometimes there’s a little bit of a different feel when the head coach walks over to your individual then when he’s not there, so I want to make sure that presence is felt with every group. So, that would be the biggest part of it that’s a change. Just learning that I really have to make sure that I’m reaching out to everybody.”
Patricia’s mind never veers far from football, but he also realizes how the demands of being a new head coach also take him away from family. He plans to balance out that aspect of coaching life during this six-week break before training camp begins later next month, and then get back to the grind.
“I mean, my family’s first and foremost,” he said. “So I got to make sure I’m a good dad here, and a good husband for a little while and then we’ll be back to camp before we know it.
“So, that will be a big part for me, but you really never get away from it. I’m always kind of thinking about what needs to be done, what we have to do when we get back and kind of planning. And there’s a lot still going into training camp when we get back, so that will all be part of it.”