Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia addressed the media Monday as the Lions get back to work preparing for a road game in Miami Sunday after enjoying this past weekend off due to their bye week.
Here are the key questions from Monday’s media session:
How serious is the knee injury sustained by Jamal Agnew in Week 5?
Severe enough to place him on injured reserve, which the Lions did Monday, but Patricia couldn’t say if it was a season ender for him or not. The Lions are allowed two players to come off injured reserve eight weeks after being placed on IR.
“We’ll just go through the process with it,” Patricia said. “That’s the good thing about that kind of designation. We have options if we get to that point (of him being able to return).”
Who might fill his roles on defense and special teams?
The Lions have options at both spots. On defense, Quandre Diggs could go back to playing some nickel. Nevin Lawson has some experience inside. Cre’von LeBlanc and Lenzy Pipkins are other options.
In terms of Agnew’s return duties, the Lions could use a number of internal options that include Golden Tate, TJ Jones, Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Powell.
“Look, we got some guys on this team that can definitely fill that role and are going to have to step up,” Patricia said.
Who are the Lions expecting to play quarterback for the Dolphins Sunday?
This is one of those weeks where the Lions are truly preparing for two quarterbacks in Brock Osweiler and Ryan Tannehill. The starter, Tannehill, is battling a shoulder injury and didn’t play last week against the Bears. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said Monday that he won’t know until Wednesday or Thursday if Tannehill will be able to play.
Osweiler stepped in and threw for 380 yards and three scores (with two picks) in the Dolphins’ 31-28 win Sunday.
“As of Monday right now, absolutely,” Patricia said of preparing for both quarterbacks, that he says have different styles, strengths and weaknesses.
“You try to take a look at both players individually. There’s a scheme that’s behind all of it that’s probably the first and foremost thing we’ll attack right now and try to get dialed into.”
Patricia said Gase does a terrific job week-to-week in changing up the scheme and throwing new wrinkles at defenses, so he has his work cut out for him.
There were almost 700 points scored in the NFL this weekend. Why are defenses having such a difficult time right now?
“Just glad we weren’t a part of any of that this weekend,” Patricia said with a smile.
Patricia just chalks it up to offenses performing at a really high level, and the fact that there’s some really dynamic and versatile players in the NFL on that side of the football.
Why is tackling of extra emphasis this week for the Lions’ defense?
Mainly because the Dolphins have a number of players on offense who are terrific run-after-the-catch players. Wide receiver Albert Wilson showed off his skills Sunday vs. Chicago’s top-ranked defense, turning two short passes into long touchdowns. Wide receiver Jakeem Grant is another one of those players, as is running back Kenyan Drake.
“Tackling is critical for us,” Patricia said. “Especially when you play dynamic players like this with the ball in their hand. It may not be deep routes all the time. It may be the short, quicker throws, that then you have to come up and tackle.
“Angles of pursuit are important. Speed of the game is important. You have to really understand how fast these guys are.”
Playing a team the Lions aren’t overly familiar with from the AFC East, the Lions will have to do a good job in their preparation this week and early in the game adjusting to Miami’s speed at the skill position.
How do the Lions prepare for the Florida heat?
Temperatures in Miami this weekend are expected to be in the mid-80s. Patricia said there’s really no way to prepare for the heat, but they can prepare for the pace and tempo Miami likes to play with at home.
“It will be hot,” Patricia said. “I think the hardest thing for us will be the tempo. Not really being able to predict how fast it’s going to go when we get down there.
“We’re just going to have to do a good job here working through practice at a high pace and high tempo and make sure we’re in great condition when we go down there. That’ll be a big part of it.”