Lions LB Devon Kennard joins Totally free Press’ Dave Birkett to chat about enhancement of the protection, Matt Patricia, more at Tremendous Bowl LIII, Feb. 1, 2019.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Totally free Press

It’s tough not to glimpse for clues while viewing the Tremendous Bowl from an NFL city whose team isn’t participating in in the match.  

You may even come across your self inquiring: What do they have that we do not?  

Detroit Lions admirers could be forgiven for answering this way: Everything. 

And while that could feel genuine when comparing the New England Patriots to the Lions — certainly, comparing them feels absurd — the real truth is always a little bit more nuanced.  

If you watched the match and listened to postgame interviews and go through the subsequent-working day tales, you could have arrive absent with this: Matt Patricia has the likelihood to reset how he does items. And if he does, maybe it could perform. 


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No, Patricia is not Invoice Belichick, the best mentor in NFL background. Nor does Patricia have the best quarterback ever in Tom Brady.  

But Patricia understands as nicely as any one that his former employer almost never has an overwhelming expertise gain. And that New England wins since of its potential to adapt and secure a total good deal of buy-in from its roster.  

Listed here was New England centre, David Andrews, telling Athletics Illustrated that “we knew we were in greater form, greater conditioned. We knew we were the more durable team.” 

This is what Patricia was hoping to replicate past summer months when he ran and labored his team to the position of exhaustion and, for some, the position of complaint. He’s found it perform up close. 

And when Lions normal supervisor Bob Quinn talks about participating in actual physical football, as he did in the course of his submit-period wrap-up with the media past month, this is what he’s definitely speaking about. Establishing practices and pushing boundaries that will give an gain late in the fourth quarter. 

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It’s not straightforward to navigate the pressure and grind of close game titles. Obviously, it will help to have Brady. Nonetheless he isn’t the only quarterback who can transfer a team underneath pressure. 

Nor is Brady the only Patriots participant who can make match-deciding plays. In just about every Tremendous Bowl New England has gained, various gamers have built a distinction. 

Instance: cornerback Stephon Gilmore who aided secure the earn with an interception and in general stellar coverage all match extended. Gilmore, one of the best pure include males in the league, informed Athletics Illustrated that he needed a 12 months in Belichick’s complex process to determine out how to be the best edition of himself. 

A process, as it transpires, favored by Patricia. Which suggests that if you’re a Lions fan, it is fair to hope — if not presume — that a handful of Lions will have their very own epiphanies subsequent period.  

As extended as Patricia adapts to his locker room and tweaks or, in some situations, overhauls the way he relates to and communicates with his gamers and also organizes their every day and weekly timetable.  

Patricia follows a extended line of Belichick assistants who’ve remaining New England for head coaching work opportunities. Most struggled in their new role with no the guiding hand and character of Belichick.  

Nonetheless of all the assistants who’ve remaining, Patricia appears to have his former boss’ vision for the match — at least on protection — in a way the other people have not. Whatever else we say about his failures in his to start with 12 months in Detroit, Patricia did some items that were noteworthy. 

And promising. 

Like slow down the Los Angeles Rams … at least for three quarters. 

In point, Belichick said he match planned for the Tremendous Bowl applying some of Patricia’s schemes and suggestions from the Lions 30-16 loss to the Rams back in early December. 


Even though it suggests little if Patricia’s potential to see the match will get shed since of an incapability to encourage and connect with gamers. 

The form of connection on display Sunday night when Belichick stopped by ESPN’s on-field established to stop by with Chris Berman, Steve Younger and Randy Moss. When Belichick approached the established, Moss, who performed in New England, rose to give his former mentor a bear hug. 

It was straightforward to place the warmth and passion. This isn’t to say just about every Belichick participant — or former participant — would react the exact as Moss. Or that Lions gamers do not react this way to Patricia. 

What it did clearly show, nevertheless, is that even with Belichick’s general public persona and popularity, he has clearly related with gamers in the course of his New England reign. The proof is in the outcomes. 

No one concerns Patricia’s potential to scheme. His protection undoubtedly experienced its moments this earlier period.  

The dilemma is whether he can understand and evolve with no dropping his task in Detroit and returning to household foundation in New England to recalibrate like offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels did just after only lasting two seasons as Denver’s head mentor. One thing Belichick experienced to do with his mentor, as well, in Invoice Parcells. 

Probably Patricia will be the one who adapts and adjusts on the fly. If very little else, Sunday’s Tremendous Bowl and its aftermath showed what’s doable.  

And that modify is always the important.