| The Detroit News
Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia arrived at his Monday afternoon press conference hoping to talk about the team’s upcoming game with the Houston Texans, and even willing to go back over what went wrong in Sunday’s embarrassing 20-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
And while there was some of that sprinkled in, the majority of what he got was what he had to expect — big-picture questions about his future with the franchise.
Patricia has never liked big-picture questions. Even during the brief stretches where things have been going well during his three-year tenure with the franchise, he’s ducked the macro in favor of the micro.
One week at a time, one game at a time. That’s the philosophy and it’s always been difficult to draw him outside those comforting confines of the daily grind.
But for the fan base, time for that game-by-game talk is at an end. At 4-6 following the loss to Carolina, and drifting beyond ownership’s ultimatum to be playing meaningful games down the stretch, the writing is on the wall and those walls are quickly closing in on the coach.
On Monday, Patricia was asked about his job security. He predictably responded he and the team were focused on Houston. It was more or less the same when when he was asked how much time was needed to fairly judge a coach.
And when asked if he had a greater sense for the negativity that always seems to define this organization, regardless of who is calling the shots, Patricia responded, “We’re trying to do the best we can each week to go out and play well.”
Unfortunately, Patricia’s best hasn’t been close to good enough.
Former Lions coach Jim Caldwell once referred to the media as the Dungeon of Doom. What seemed like negativity to him never felt like anything but normal questions for us. But maybe he was right. Maybe, like much of the fan base, we’re conditioned with an impending sense the other shoe is about to drop, even when things are going well.
Then again, who knows what well looks like around here? Even though Caldwell posted a respectable 36-28 record during his four seasons with the franchise, he never got the Lions over the hump that’s blocked them for nearly three decades. No division crowns, no home playoff games and no playoff wins.
It’s not even possible to feign optimism for the current product. Patricia would have to win 23 consecutive games to match Caldwell’s winning percentage and there’s almost no chance he’s around beyond the final six this year. Heck, you can make every argument he shouldn’t last past the weekend if the team lays another egg on Thanksgiving.
So yeah, it makes sense Patricia is laser-focused on Houston. When you’re possibly down to your final game, how can you possibly be thinking about anything other than the next one?