Matt Patricia promises passion, not Super Bowls, in Lions introduction
ALLEN PARK — Matt Patricia didn’t roll into town looking to blow smoke up anyone’s you-know-what. He wasn’t here to make promises he couldn’t keep. And he definitely wasn’t here to talk about the Super Bowl.
He could have. People would have eaten it up too. The Detroit Lions have never been to one. He was in one three days ago, and a few others before that. He could have talked about how he believes the Lions are close, and this town would have eaten that kind of thing up.
Even his predecessor, the mild-mannered Jim Caldwell, did it in 2014.
But Patricia didn’t seem interested in scoring PR points. He just wanted to keep it real — and real simple. All he’d promise on his first day in Allen Park: He’s going to work hard every day, and so will his men.
“To the future of the Detroit Lions, the Lion organization, the players and the fans: I believe that I am a leader. I believe that I am a problem solver. And I want to represent the toughness of this city,” he said during a news conference at the team’s indoor practice field on Wednesday afternoon. “We will be organized. We will be detailed. We will teach and develop our players and our coaches. We will be passionate. We will love and respect the game, and we will be committed to winning.
“We will be competitive in all that we do. We will have a smart, tough, fundamentally sound football team that will play, perform and can execute under pressure. We will be hardworking. We will be competitive in all aspects of our planning, preparation and our performance. We will have a high-character culture in our organization. Our players will be positive role models and contributing members of the community. We will have a blue-collar mentality. We will work hard as a team to make this city proud.”
Patricia mentioned the city several times in his initial remarks. It’s a tough town that makes tough people, and it can be hard to really understand if you’ve never lived here. Patricia hasn’t, either. But a kid from central New York comes as close as any.
He hails from Sherrill, a tough town that has come and gone with the Industrial Revolution. After studying aeronautical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he spent a couple years on the staff at Amherst, then was offered a position at Syracuse in 2001.
That’s a town that’s seen a thing or two as well, and those early days seem to have left a lasting impression on Patricia. Because all these years later, he’s gotten so many of those guys back together for his first Lions staff.
Paul Pasqualoni, the Syracuse coach, will be his defensive coordinator. Chris White, Brian Stewart and David Corrao, all assistants on those teams, will be position coaches. Even David Walker, Detroit’s running backs coach, was on those Syracuse staffs.
And then there’s Patricia, a lowly offensive assistant for the Orange, now one of the hottest names in coaching. Fourteen years in Foxborough will do that. So will six straight top-10 defenses.
He’ll face lofty expectations immediately in Detroit — but on this day, Patricia didn’t want to box himself into predictions or proclamations or words he might come to regret. He wouldn’t even say whether Jim Bob Cooter, who was watching in the crowd, was his offensive coordinator. He also wouldn’t say what kind of defense Pasqualoni will run.
All he would promise was hard work and an end product the people of this town could rally around.
“This is a dream come true,” he said. “I believe that having the opportunity of being the head coach is a very rare and special gift. And I’m honored and grateful to be named head coach of the Detroit Lions. This position carries a great responsibility, and I take that responsibility very seriously, and I will do everything I can to lead this organization in the right way.”
“My goal is to help this organization, this fan base, this city, to make it proud. I will work tirelessly to build a team that everyone around here can be proud of both on and off the field.”