Matt Patricia Reveals Plan to Address the Defense

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
John Maakaron

When a defensive coach watches game film and relives his team giving up 503 total yards of offense, some additional work is clearly needed. 

During Monday's media session, Lions head man Matt Patricia was asked a fair number of questions regarding his reaction to the deficiencies on defense and what his approach will be to address them. 

Prior to revealing how he thinks the defense can be fixed, Patricia explained, in detail, the fundamentals that can be worked on this week ahead of the Lions' matchup with the New York Giants on Sunday at Ford Field. 

Patricia explained, "Obviously, I would say our lack of fundamentals (needs to be addressed). I know that I say that a lot, but there are a lot of things that go into fundamentals, even more than just pad-level."

He added, "It’s hand-placement, it’s footwork, it’s dropping into zone coverage, it’s reading the quarterback, it’s breaking on the ball, it’s tackling, it’s angles, it’s keeping our head up in certain situations (and) it’s playing through the pocket."

Those key fundamentals will be highly emphasized this week in practice, according to Patricia.

Does Patricia see the issues occurring being able to be improved this season?

"Yeah, I’m going to coach my butt off," Patricia commented. "We’re always going to coach and work and try to improve and get better. Certainly, that’s happened many times in the year's past where teams have gotten better, as the season has gone on. We, obviously, have some work in front of us to do here and get that right. I certainly believe that’s what we can do." 

Where to start with trying to make improvements? 

Patricia responded, "We’re going to start with the communication, we’re going to start with the coaching (and) we’re going to start with the teaching to make sure I just give that one more time to them. So, they’re hearing it again."

He added, "I want it to be completely understood what I’m looking for. That’s where I put it on me, where I have to coach it better. That’s where I start. It’s not really a scheme thing. We can play any scheme we want. I’ve coached more defense probably than anybody in the league, as far as scheme is concerned. We have to start somewhere, and you start with your foundation. And your foundation has to be good fundamentals. If you don’t have that or you’re not consistent with it, then, it becomes really hard to fix everything else.”

The importance of communication

Patricia emphasized that communication is not an easy facet of the defense. In fact, it is one of the hardest parts of playing defense. 

"That (communication) is actually one of the most difficult things that defensive units have to do, based on the things that offenses do nowadays," Patricia said. "We have to do a good job of making sure we’re all on the same page with it. But that is definitely No. 1 as far as defense is concerned, to make sure we’re all on the same page. That’s just the biggest thing. You can’t have different guys on different pages.”

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