Former Lions lineman T.J. Lang defends Matt Patricia on one particular thing

SideLion Report

The list of things Matt Patricia got wrong is long, but former lineman T.J. Lang has defended the former Detroit Lions head coach on one particular decision.

T.J. Lang spent the final two of his 10 NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions, after eight with the Green Bay Packers. His final season, 2018–cut to six games by injuries and eventual placement on IR, was Matt Patricia’s first as Lions’ head coach.

It’s still amazing to realize Patricia lasted less than three full seasons as the head coach in Detroit. For many players and fans (if not all), it definitely felt a lot longer. He tried to bring the “Patriot Way” to the Motor City, only without the Bill Belichick acumen to do it right.

The list of things Patricia did wrong as Lions’ head coach is long. Nearly as long is the list of departed players from during his tenure who have made their bad feelings about him clear over time. But Lang is not among those totally disgruntled former “Quinntricia”-era Lions players.

T.J. Lang defends Matt Patricia on one particular decision

Lang now co-hosts the Necessary Roughness podcast, with fellow former NFL offensive lineman Jon Jansen. This past week Lang talked about what he looked for when each season’s schedule came out, with a focus on games that would be played on turf or grass. Credit to SI.com for the quotes to come.

“Turf for the big guys, like that wears you out man,” Lang explained.

The criticism of Patricia reached a different pitch when the Lions went to practice outside in December–during the depths of a Michigan winter of course. Lang reiterated his defense of that decision.

I actually defended coach Patricia about this because he used to take a lot of (edited out expletive) when Lions went out practicing outside in December and it was 15 degrees out there,” “People didn’t understand. I’m like, ‘Guys, he does it for the big guys.’ It’s grass and it’s soft. It’s better for your joints to go out there on a Thursday and be on the grass than it is to spend two hours in the indoor on turf because the big guys are going to feel it for a couple of days. That was something that coach Patricia did really well that I defended him for.”

Patricia never went out of his way to explain anything. But it makes some sense that even a possibly partially frozen grass field outside would be softer than an artificial turf field indoors. And as such, bigger lineman on both sides of the ball would favor it–especially late in a season.

Sympathetic and Patricia’s name won’t often be in the same sentence. But when it comes to “the big guys”, as Lang called them, it appears he was. Even if social media exploded when he was seen in his hoodie outside, in the midst of snow falling during an outdoor practice.

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