Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia speaks to the media on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Allen Park.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
NFL Pro Bowl voting starts later this month, and the way things stand right now, the Detroit Lions might not have a single player selected for the game.
The Lions don’t have any superstars on their team, or super units for that matter, and some of their better players don’t fit the Pro Bowl mode for one reason or another.
Damon Harrison is one of the best interior run-stuffers in the NFC, but he doesn’t pile up the statistics that interest voters. Kerryon Johnson is a rookie at a loaded position (Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, Adrian Peterson, Alvin Kamara). And Darius Slay hasn’t been quite as good as he was while intercepting eight passes last year.
But as short as the Lions are on impact players — there aren’t many others even in the Pro Bowl conversation — coach Matt Patricia said that’s not what’s holding his team back eight games into the season.
“No, I mean, fundamentals and execution is what’s holding us back right now,” Patricia said Monday. “That’s where we got to start.”
To be clear, Patricia disputes the notion that the Lions don’t have enough players to begin with, even though his team got outclassed by NFC playoff contenders the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings the last two weeks.
The Lions lost those games by a total of 29 points, and they allowed 10 sacks Sunday against the Vikings.
“I think we have good players on this team, I really do,” Patricia said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in the division or out of the division, we’re going to go out there and compete, try to do everything we can to win. So certainly again, the performance yesterday wasn’t very good. We know that and we understand that we got to do a better job, but we have plenty of talented guys on this team that can help us win.”
To do that, though, Patricia said the Lions need to be better with their fundamentals, something he mentioned on three separate occasions Monday.
“I would say with both offense and defensive line, I would say the point of emphasis right now is fundamentals,” Patricia said. “Some of our fundamentals (Sunday) got out of whack, some of our technique stuff was not necessarily where it needs to be on a consistent basis.
“It’s hard when you get to this time of the year and you’re in heavy gameplan modes and limited amount of time to kind of work on those things that we emphasis so much in training camp, and we’re really trying to make sure we’re staying on top of those. We’ve got to do a better job of really being detailed in some of those things right now and try to get that under control.”
Patricia said it’s possible the Lions devote extra periods in practice to fundamentals this week, and while players said it falls on them to spend their spare time working on them, too.
“We just got to work, man,” Eli Harold said. “We just got to put in the time. That’s all it is. It’s not a pill you can take, it’s not a drink, you just got to put in the work.”
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