That Super Bowl loss should absolutely make any Lions fan feel that familiar desperate and anxious emotion. It spells one of two things for our new fearless leader and head coach, Matt Patricia.
One, this is not going to be the revamp of the defense we all pictured. Patricia’s defense allowed 538 total yards and over 150 rushing yards to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles had four receivers surpass 50 yards while Torrey Smith recorded 49. While it made for great football and an incredible game, it is not what I want to see out of the new head coach.
Two, Patricia is going to dwell on this performance all offseason until the point where it consumes his coaching mind and he will crack under the pressure of leading a historic franchise to their first Super Bowl appearance.
Yes, both of these options are negative, but why would I have a reason to be optimistic? Jim Caldwell was the best thing this organization has seen in years and we fire him. Great coaches are hard to come by in a league filled with so many fluffed up candidates, but Patricia possesses some actual credentials. Any coach can call a pass play and let Matthew Stafford take over (which has often been the strategy). It takes a good coach to utilize the defense in the NFL and good defense in the NFL translates to winning.
Patricia needs to bring his defensive mind if he has any plans of staying in Detroit for more than just a few years. He has an unequivocally better quarterback than any other team in the league and he has a group of receivers to support that. He has almost $50 million in cap space with a fleet of former players that he could draw to Detroit. He has what he needs to make this a great team, he just needs to get the right defensive players.
Whether it is drafting them or signing them through free agency, the Lions need some all-pro players upfront. The secondary could use a little work, but interior linemen and a new outside linebacker should be key priorities. If Patricia is as player-friendly as he seems, hopefully, it won’t be too hard to get some of these players to the Motor City.
Super Bowl 52 was definitely a weird note for Patricia to go out on, but he has to forget it. Detroit is the perfect town for a rough, hard-nosed defense that should be complicated by a rough, hard-nosed running back. If he does not address the front seven and the running back position, he will have already written his letter of resignation.
It is going to a be a wild offseason, but for now, the final game of the season should have every Lions fan shaking in their boots until the draft and free agency are upon us.
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