Green Bay, Wis. — If you were expecting finger-pointing coming out of the Detroit Lions’ embarrassing loss to the Green Bay Packers, you’re going to be disappointed. Despite a disjointed effort on Sunday, the team continues to present a unified front publicly.
In his third season, things couldn’t be going much worse for coach Matt Patricia. Coming off a disastrous season where the team won just three games, the Lions are 0-2 in 2020, having blown double-digit leads against a pair of division rivals.
But when asked if Patricia was the man to dig them out of the hole he’s helped put them in, multiple players pinned them blame on themselves as opposed to the head coach and his staff.
“Uh, is 200% an option?” running back Kerryon Johnson said. “Yeah, that’s like the confidence I have in him. As hard as I work, as hard as my teammates work, they work the same. I mean, Matt Patricia stays up countless hours, (offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell) stays up countless hours, all of our coaches stay up countless hours focusing on how we can win, how we can put ourselves in the best position to win, so I know it’s not from a lack of trying. It just doesn’t happen.
“At the end of the day, they can only do so much,” Johnson continued. “At the end of the day, we have to go out and perform. It’s a 50-50 ballgame here. They put us in positions to make plays, we have to go out and make those plays. I have to do more to make more, and we’re in this thing together. It’s not one-on-one, it’s not anything like that. We have to go out and fulfill what they want to do, and at the end of the day, that’s on us to do.”
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Johnson isn’t wrong. The players aren’t making enough plays. But it’s debatable whether they’re truly being put in the best position. What’s clear is they’re committing too many penalties — 15 in two games, resulting in eight first downs. That could be easily be considered a discipline problem.
And nothing has been more problematic than Patricia’s defense; his area of expertise that helped land him the job in Detroit in the first place.
After finishing near the bottom of the league the past two seasons, the Lions allowed one of the NFL’s worst starting quarterbacks to put up 21 points in the fourth quarter in the season-opener, followed by a 488-yard, 42-point explosion by the Packers on Sunday.
“Obviously, when you play a game like this today, it’s a bad game and it’s not good enough and we’re trying to do better,” Patricia said. “I think our scheme has been really multiple. We’ve tried to do the best we could to fit the guys that we had a high level. Certainly, there’s a lot of teaching, technique and fundamental work that’s involved with that. In the end, obviously, it’s just got to improve.”
The Lions are battling injuries, but Patricia has never used that as an excuse, and given that every team goes through them, it’s not fair to provide him that crutch to explain away the shortcomings.
Not surprisingly, Patricia had no interest in further damaging the confidence of his battered squad after the loss to Green Bay when asked if he had the personnel to execute his game plans.
“Yeah, I’ve got all the confidence in the world in these guys. We just have to go out and do it. We’ve got to stop doing things that hurt our team and hurt us and make sure we’re trying to execute at a high level.”