Embed from Getty Images Detroit Lions head coach, Matt Patricia has repeatedly stated that he is constantly evaluating players and hoping to grow the team in the preseason. The scaled back play that was consistently seen on both sides of the ball in practices and training camp were absent in the games.
One of Matt Patricia’s hallmarks as a coach is to devise an opponent specific gameplan, especially for his defense. There was no evidence of any sort of that throughout the preseason. That is just fine. There is no need to show anything on offense, defense and special teams in meaningless games.
Patricia also played veterans sparingly if at all. Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford did not play until the third preseason game. Fans and media freaked out. For no reason at all. Wondering on social media if he was hurt, or simply was not picking up the playbook from new Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
All of that was false. The Lions already knew Stafford was the starting quarterback. What they did not know was who was going to back him up. The fact the Lions head coach did not play many veterans was certainly his prerogative.
If the Detroit Lions look sharp and well prepared in the teams first couple of weeks of the regular season, nobody will remember or care about the apathetically vanilla preseason. If the team looks lost and unprepared fans will call for Patricia’s head and the media will say the coach has failed.
The fact of the matter is the preseason is only for newly drafted players, veterans on a try-out and non-roster invitees. There is never a reason any NFL team should play a veteran during meaningless, scalded-back games.
Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn, was asked about his head coach and had this to say, “I think he definitely changed the ways he’s done some things,” Quinn said. “I think he’s taken a lot of input from the players. A lot of great conversations, I would say, dating back to January, February, March when the players weren’t in the building about things that he was thinking about and wanted to get some input from some of the veteran guys. Very reflective. Very honest with himself.”
The Lions kickoff the 2019 season September 8 against the Arizona Cardinals. That will be a much better look at the football team and where it stands.