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Patricia to tailor defensive scheme around players

Ever since Matt Patricia was announced Monday as the new head coach of the Detroit Lions, questions have popped up about his "football philosophy."

As a defensive-minded coach, what base defense will Patricia run in Detroit? Will it be a 4-3 or 3-4? Will he call the plays?

Patricia even had a little fun with the latter question.

"Well, you know what the good thing about being the head coach is?" he asked with a big grin. "Anytime I want to call a play, offense, defense or special teams, I get to call it. So, that'll be pretty exciting for me."

A little bit of tongue and cheek there, but as for his defensive philosophy and scheme moving forward, Patricia plans to have an open mind about it.

"Scheme and things like that is going to be a process for us to go through before we kind of nail everything down," he said. "There's a whole player evaluation that needs to take place first. There's obviously free agency, the draft, which affects all of that too. As you go through the process of spring, training camp and the season, for me that changes."

Patricia's defenses in New England were considered more multiple than they were a straight base 4-3 or 3-4. One of the things that made Patricia such a coveted head-coaching candidate was the reputation he built as being a coordinator who schemed a defense week to week based on the opponent. The Patriots' defense finished in the Top 10 in scoring every year Patricia was the coordinator dating back to 2012.

"The scheme is not something that's not necessarily locked into exactly has to be this," he said. "You want to kind of make sure you tailor what you do to the players that you have, so that they can perform at a high level out on the field."

Patricia still has to lock down his coaching staff, and then begin to evaluate the roster alongside new defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni before they settle in on what kind of defense they want to be.

"I'll say coach Pasqualoni and I have a long history together," Patricia said. "So, there's a lot of common ground from what we believe in, how a defense should be played, how it should be run, the fundamentals behind it.

"You know, the core teaching of what should be accomplished first and foremost. There's a huge comfort level for me to have him on board and to be able to entrust him to handle that."

Patricia, Pasqualoni and the rest of the new defensive coaching staff seem to be keeping their options open at this point, but with the NFL Scouting Combine coming up in just a couple weeks and free agency and the draft to follow, Patricia, his staff and general manager Bob Quinn will have to identify players that fit the kind of defense they want to play.

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