Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia breaks down the Denver Broncos

The Detroit Lions have two games on their schedule remaining before their season comes to a merciful end. Right now, their sights are set on this weekend’s opponent, the Denver Broncos.

As his team is preparing to head west, one player in particular has caught his eye as he prepares his team: wide receiver Courtland Sutton, whom Patricia labeled as “great”.

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“[W]hen you’re watching other defenses, you can’t help but notice how he shows up in a detrimental way against them,” Patricia explained during a conference call with Denver media on Wednesday. “Great player.”

Sutton is enjoying a breakout season, having just eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark and becoming the third player in Broncos history to record a 1,000 yard receiving season before the end of his second year in the NFL.

“This guy is so impressive to me,” Patricia said. “He’s big, he’s strong. He does a great job at the line of scrimmage. If you try to press him, he’s going to power through that. His releases really are outstanding. He does an excellent job at the top of the route. I think his ability to get in and out of breaks to create that separation, to be able to burst, that transition, it’s really phenomenal. He’s got great hands and, certainly, the run after the catch is outstanding. He makes guys miss, he runs through tackles. I really don’t think people realize how big he is when he’s coming at them.”

Of course, Patricia also had to mention quarterback Drew Lock. The rookie was drafted by the Broncos in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and has a 2-1 record with five touchdown passes and three interceptions in three starts.

“I think he’s stepped right in,” Patricia said. “He’s a very competitive guy. We spent some time with him coming out of the draft. I know he’s … a guy who does a great job of just coming out every single day ready to go. He’s got a strong arm, he’s athletic. I think he’s getting the ball out quick. I think they’re doing a great job of putting him in situations where he can make plays. Certainly, he’s doing a great job of getting the ball to his two go-to guys. Courtland Sutton is phenomenal [and] Noah Fant — he’ll put the ball up [and] let them go get it, and they’re making big plays.”

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“I think think the thing about Drew that’s so impressive is his athleticism and his speed. I think a lot of guys, you see it on tape, you underestimate how fast he is, how mobile he is as a quarterback, and athletic,” Patricia continued. “You see him just run away from linebackers and safeties. He makes a lot of guys miss when he gets into the open space. I think that’s the element that he just adds and becomes even more difficult to defend against.”

As far as who he’ll be coaching against on Sunday, Patricia was quick to point out that despite never having worked with Vic Fangio, he’s a “big admirer” of his and is known to watch film on Fangio’s defenses.

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“Playing against each other, I’m a big admirer of his,” Patricia said. “We have very similar backgrounds as far as defensive philosophy. I’m always trying to watch his tape and see what he’s doing, see if there’s anything that I think is appropriate for our defense. And certainly from that standpoint, a lot of the principles and fundamentals that he’s teaching are the same things that I believe in. [I have] a lot of respect and admiration for him.”

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