Matt Patricia has earned respect from former AFC opponents

There's a new aura of anticipation in the Motor City with former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as the new head coach of the Detroit Lions. Already well known throughout the NFL, he joins forces with another former Patriots employee – Bob Quinn – to hopefully bring an end to the long suffering of Lions fans.

Of course, his many former AFC opponents are well aware of what he can bring to the Lions, and the Miami Dolphins’ Adam Gase, Buffalo Bills’ Sean McDermott and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Doug Marrone spoke at length of how fortunate Detroit was to land the former DC.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect for Matt in the standpoint of we all go out there and say how smart he is from a background academically, where no one can say that about me,” Marrone said. “So his background academically and the engineering and things of that nature, he’s the same way as a football coach. Very, very bright. Very smart. Gets a lot out of his players.”

The Patriots and Jaguars practiced against each other in last year's training camp, and then ironically met in the AFC championship game earlier this year. Jacksonville was held to just two field goals in the second half after leading 14-10. 

“We were able to go and practice against them for a couple of days last year in New England,” Marrone said. “I was on the field with Matt and I really thought, from a standpoint of orchestrating the defense and getting what he wants out of the players and really pushing them and challenging them — I thought he did an outstanding job. So I have all the respect in the world for him.”

Of course, the Dolphins know plenty about the Patriots, and got to see first hand many times of how challenging going up against a tough defense can be.

“I've had games where we've gotten yards and no points, and I've had games where we haven't gotten many yards and they've done a really good job to where we haven't scored any points either,” Gase said. “He's always challenging to go against. There's games where you feel like he knows what you're calling before you're calling your plays, and it was always a fun game to call games against him because I knew, with him being a good friend of mine, it was just kind of that rivalry to where you're trying to beat one of your good friends.”

Meanwhile, the Bills failed to score an offensive touchdown in both of their games against the Patriots last season. Sean McDermott had high praise for Patricia and attested to the fact that he's well respected throughout the NFL.

“I think Matt's resume really speaks for itself,” McDermott said at the combine. “(He’s) well thought of around the league in terms of his football acumen on the defensive side of the ball.”