| Detroit Free Press
Detroit Lions’ Matt Patricia declines to talk job status
Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia on Nov. 23, 2020, didn’t want to go into detail about his job security after an ugly loss vs. the Carolina Panthers.
One day after the Detroit Lions suffered one of their most disappointing losses of the season, two players voiced strong support for coach Matt Patricia.
Safety Duron Harmon, who played for Patricia in New England, and left tackle Taylor Decker expressed their confidence in the first-time head coach, whose record stands at 13-28-1.
Because of COVID-19 protocols, reporters are not allowed inside NFL locker rooms this season. That has made it harder to gauge the 4-6 Lions’ mood following a 20-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers. But Harmon assured reporters in a conference call Monday that Patricia has the team’s full support.
“At the end of the day, what’s said in the locker room, that’s a sacred place,” Harmon said. “But I would let you know that everybody is definitely fully on board with Matt. We love him as a head coach and we’ve just got to win. We’ve got to win. That calms and solves everything right there: Winning.”
Decker also was unequivocal about his support for Patricia and laid some of the blame on players’ inability to execute the game plan at Carolina.
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“One hundred percent,” Decker said of his level of support for Patricia. “He’s our head coach and we’re going to follow that and follow the plan in place because we’ve seen when we execute and we’re prepared and we communicate well that we can be a really good football team.
“Obviously yesterday when it came down to execution — like that’s the players’ responsibility to execute things and execute the game plans. And he’s the head of our organization, he’s the leader of organization, and we trust in that. It’d be foolish if we weren’t all working toward the same thing; trying to improve, trying to win, trying to get better. And that’s all we can try to do.”
Decker said he considered it a “blessing” the Lions can move past their failures and focus on another game so quickly, with the Houston Texans due to visit for the annual Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field. Harmon echoed the need to focus on the next opponent instead of wallowing in doubt.
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“At the end of the day, I love Matt,” Harmon said. “Matt is the head coach, so whatever he asks of me to do, his approach as a coach, I’m going to follow him. I’m going to ride with him until the wheels fall off.
“At the end of the day, (the criticism is ) just outside noise. … I’m not oblivious to it, but whether I let it consume me or get to me is my choice and right now, it’s outside noise. I have to worry about getting ready for a very, very explosive offense in the Texans and that’s where my focus is right now.”
Harmon offered a sober assessmentof professional sports, saying “everybody’s job is in jeopardy” in a “production-based business.”
“I love Matt,” Harmon said. “I love what he brings to the table as a coach, the passion that he coaches with, the leadership, how smart he is. I just love everything about him. But at the end of the day, the only way to take the heat off of anybody and all of us is to win.
“So the only thing that we can focus on and get ready to do is go play our best game of the year against the Texans and get a win and calm some of this down and try to get a hold of some things and try to stack a win on top of a win. I think that’s where we’re at right now and that’s what we’re focused on doing.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.