As storm clouds gather around the Lions, who were embarrassed twice only four days apart, questions swirl regarding the status of third-year coach Matt Patricia. After Thursday’s 41-25 loss to the Texans, Patricia’s job security became a common topic during post-game press conferences.
Two of the players made available were asked whether Patricia should remain in place. Both punted on the question in lieu of making the case for continuity.
“It’s not my decision,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “That’s for somebody else. If you want to ask me about the game, you ask me about the game.”
Tight end T.J. Hockenson provided a similar response, although not nearly as blunt and jarring as Stafford’s.
“Obviously, I can’t say,” Hockenson said. “I’m not going to comment on somebody else’s job. I’m just here to do mine, obviously. Matt Patricia gave me a chance to come into this organization. So, for that, I owe him. Obviously, that’s up to the front office — all that other stuff. You guys can talk about that, but he’s still my head coach. He’s still my head coach. If he’s not, he’s still the guy that gave me an opportunity to be a Detroit Lion. So, for that, I’ll forever be grateful.”
Patricia, predictably, was asked whether he’ll be the coach for the team’s next game.
“I focus on one day at a time,” Patricia said. “That hasn’t changed. So, we’ll focus on today and go from there.”
He also was asked what falling to 4-7 means to his job security.
“My thoughts are really just with the team here today and what we were trying to do here today,” he said. “It doesn’t go beyond that, it’s what I focus on. I focus on the team. I focus on those guys that go out on that field, those guys that our in that locker room and try to give them everything I can to give them a chance to go be successful. That’s the focus. It never changes, it is what it is.”
“I don’t think outside of that, I don’t worry outside of that other than just trying to do the best job I can every day to help everybody be successful and try to get our team going. So, other than that, we play pretty short term and are pretty focused on the task at hand. So that’s kind of where we stay with it.”
Through nearly three full seasons, things haven’t worked for the Lions. If change is coming, it could go all the way up the ladder to G.M. Bob Quinn, who fired Jim Caldwell after two seasons in order to hire Patricia.
Together, Quinn and Patricia have tried to bring the Patriot Way to Michigan. Despite the intentions, the results aren’t there. The fact that a key player like Stafford isn’t banging on the table for Patricia to stay won’t do much to keep a change from happening, if that’s what ownership currently is contemplating.