Matt Patricia Must Justify His Reputation as a Defensive Mastermind this Season

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It’s been 18 months since Matt Patricia was hired by the Lions, and despite arriving in Motor City with a big reputation, he has yet to turn things around at Ford Field. The 45-year-old is famed for being an astute defensive coach, with a willingness to graft, and although there can be very little doubt over the former offensive lineman’s work-rate, Lions fans are yet to see the fruits of his labor, and 2020 looks set to be a potentially defining season for the New Yorker.

Despite increased pre-season optimism, the Lions ended the 2019 campaign with an incredibly disappointing 3-12-1 record, and with the franchise owner and chairman Martha Firestone Ford expecting Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn to turn the ailing side into play-off contenders this season, this may be his final opportunity to establish himself as one of the division’s finest defensive co-ordinators. 

Patricia has opted to surround himself with familiar faces, with defensive back Duron Harmon being traded from the Patriots, alongside Danny Shelton and experienced linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. The franchise have also claimed defensive tackle, Daylon Mack, this month, and they now appear to have plenty of strength-in-depth in this area of the field. Having ranked 31st in yardage allowed and 24th in takeaways last season, significant improvement is required, and the new recruits will be expected to hit the ground running. 

The Lions remain a work in progress, and at 6.5 in the pre-season American football odds to finish top of the NFC North this year, they aren’t expected to challenge for the post-season. However, Patricia is determined to improve their fortunes, and with a number of disruptive influences having departed, he is slowly assembling a hard-working unit, who will surely give 100% on a weekly basis. 

Patricia has opted to surround himself with familiar faces, with defensive back Duron Harmon being traded from the Patriots, alongside Danny Shelton and experienced linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. The franchise have also claimed defensive tackle Daylon Mack this month, and they now appear to have plenty of strength-in-depth in this area of the field. Having ranked 31st in yardage allowed and 24th in takeaways last season, significant improvement is required, and the new recruits will be expected to hit the ground running.
The Lions remain a work in progress, and at 6.5 in the pre-season American football odds to finish top of the NFC North this year, they aren’t expected to challenge for the post-season. However, Patricia is determined to improve their fortunes, and with a number of disruptive influences having departed, he is slowly assembling a hard-working unit, who will surely give 100% on a weekly basis.

With former pro-bowler Desmond Trufant adding some much-needed experience, and exciting corner Jeff Okudah all expected to play significant roles this season, the Lions will surely be much tougher to penetrate in 2020. Patricia has also added to his staff with first-year co-ordinator Cory Undlin set to provide some much-needed back-up. The 49-year-old has previously worked with a number of franchises and should be able to offer some valuable insight throughout the course of the campaign.


Lions fans will be desperate to draw a line under the last two seasons, and although the franchise remains 100% behind both Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn, it looks set to be a pivotal few months for the pair.

He arrived with a big reputation and was widely dubbed a ‘defensive mastermind’ by the media, however, his team appears to have regressed since he arrived at Ford Field, and it is absolutely vital that Patricia somehow finds a way to significantly improve their defensive record in 2020.