Lions coach Patricia vs. Brady is for real this time

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) greets defensive coordinator Matt Patricia after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game.Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Sports Xchange

After all, Patricia served as defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots from 2012-17 and had his charges routinely face Brady in practice.

When asked on Wednesday about his “secret” to containing Brady in practice, Patricia showed his quick wit.

“Probably the fact that it was practice,” the 44-year-old Patricia said in a conference call.

Patricia then elected to elaborate on his answer.

“Just in regards to trying to slow him down, he’s obviously such a great player,” Patricia said of Brady, who is a five-time Super Bowl champion and three-time NFL Most Valuable Player.

“Someone that you see every single day that I would practice against that I have the utmost respect for, the way that he approaches the game, his competitiveness, the way that he can just increase the level of his focus in the competition of practice was great.

“Lot of obviously great memories and great situations where every single day it’s kind of going against each other. I think he’s just a phenomenal player and an even better person. So, the practice part of it was always fun, for the love of the game. It’s a little bit different now I think, from this standpoint.”

It became different when Patricia was hired by the Lions on Feb. 5, one day after the Patriots fell to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

A former aeronautical engineering major at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Patricia was the Patriots’ safeties coach in 2011, the linebackers coach from 2006-2010 and spent his first two seasons with New England as a coaching staff and an assistant offensive line coach.

The Lions (0-2) have yielded 78 points and an NFL-worst 359 rushing yards in their first two games this season heading into their game on Sunday (8:20 p.m. ET) against the visiting Patriots (1-1).