The Lions will be hosting the Patriots on Sunday night and that means a leading storyline of the game will be the matchup between the two head coaches.
Matt Patricia joined Bill Belichick’s staff in New England in 2004 and ran the defense from 2012 until he got the Lions head coaching job this offseason. He’s made a few moves that seem inspired by his time in New England since landing in Detroit, but Patricia insists that he’s trying to do more than mimic what worked for his mentor.
“I have great respect for Coach Belichick as both a mentor and friend, but the main thing that is important for me to stress is that we’re not building the Patriots here,” Patricia said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “We’re building the Lions. I’m trying to do it the way I know, and the way I believe the game should be played. A lot of it is influenced by my time in New England, but in the end, it has to be the style that fits me and this team. I’m not Coach Belichick. There’s only one. He’s unbelievable. I just have to try to be the best head coach I can be that helps our team, and that’s the biggest thing.”
While Nick Saban’s done just fine for himself at the collegiate level, former Belichick assistants have not fared well in the NFL. Patricia’s not off to the best start when it comes to bucking that trend and we’ll find out Sunday if he’s come up with any wrinkles that can move that record in a better direction.