If you’re a Detroit Lions fan, you’ve seen it all. The perfect winless season. The heartbreaking losses. Hall-of-Famers in their prime retiring before their time is up. Horrific quarterback after horrific quarterback. Resting at the bottom of the NFC North, or NFL, for years, etc.
You get it, there’s been a lot of pain. But Monday’s blowout loss to the New York Jets reached a new level of low for a franchise that seemed far removed from mediocrity or, at least, the embarrassment that marred its name for some time.
The Lions were resurrected from the utter depths of despair behind a young rookie quarterback that grew into a franchise quarterback; from a young receiver that took the league by storm and solidified himself as one of the best before retiring too soon; and they’ve even managed to provide some fire to their defense. Detroit seemed like an entirely different team than the squad that went 0-16 in 2008.
The Lions fired coach Jim Caldwell because he couldn’t get his team to the playoffs. Completely understandable. This is a business, after all. If you’re not producing the results desired by your organization, you’re out. So the Lions went out this offseason and hired Matt Patricia as their new head coach.
On the surface, Patricia looks like he’s got what it takes to be an NFL head coach. He’s got the pedigree — hailing from the Bill Belichick coaching tree — and he’s a smart defensive mind that was hired to take the Lions defense to the next level. But if Monday night’s gruesome loss to the Jets is an indication — and I believe it is — then the progress that the Lions have made over the past several years is in jeopardy under a coach that doesn’t appear ready.
When it comes to coaching trees, the Belichick tree hasn’t been one that’s been proven. While Andy Reid has produced some solid coaches — including 8 in the NFL right now — those that hail from Belichick’s coaching staff haven’t been effective. In fact, they’ve flamed out.
Name me one successful coach from the Bill Belichick tree that isn’t Bill Belichick. I’ll wait.
So the future doesn’t look bright for Patricia with the Lions. But even more concerning than the 0-1 start is the reports that there are veteran players upset about how hard Patricia worked them through training camp, as well as the new rules being implemented.
Watching Monday night’s game, it was evident that Lions players had given up. Hell, they even said as much during post-game interviews. But if as a first-year head coach you’ve lost your team in the first week of the regular season, there’s a huge problem here.
Patricia needs to realize that this isn’t New England. You can’t come to Detroit and expect to replicate what New England has found success in. First off, Matthew Stafford isn’t Tom Brady. Oh, and, Matt Patricia is certainly no Bill Belichick.
Things aren’t going to get any easier as the Lions head to San Francisco to play the 49ers and then host the Patriots. This thing has the potential to blow up in their faces. This thing is about to get pretty ugly.
These aren’t your father’s Lions; the 2008 winless Lions; the quarterback-less Lions. Jim Caldwell got them to the playoffs. Matt Patricia? Hell, he’ll be lucky to get them to .500.
While Lions fans have seen a lot in their lives, there is something they haven’t seen. A Super Bowl. Or a a playoff victory in nearly two decades. You know who won’t get them there? Matt Patricia. And if the Lions are lucky, they’ll get out of this before Patricia burns this place to the ground.