ALLEN PARK — Matt Patricia was introduced to Detroit as the Lions’ 27th head coach on Wednesday. He said all of the right things.
It was all good. He’s a tireless worker, he loves the history and passion of Detroit. He’s not looking back at all the Lions’ failures. He is only focused on the future.
Mostly he wants to win.
“My goal is to help this organization, this fan base and 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,’’ Patricia said.
The new coach, who spent the last six years as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, is excited about his first NFL head coaching job.
He’s got his quirks too. After a few questions, he put a pencil behind his ear and said that he felt more comfortable. He seemed at ease under the spotlight, at the podium, answering questions.
Five things to know about Patricia from Wednesday:
1. He worked for Patriots coach Bill Belichick, but he is not Belichick. “He’s one of the most amazing coaches I’ve ever been around, the way he looks at the game, his vision of the game, the way he sees the game move and change before it actually does is unbelievable. There’s only one coach Belichick,’’ Patricia said. “He’s amazing, he’s in New England. I’m Matt Patricia, I’m kind of my own person, my own guy, I’ve got my own style but I certainly will take all the lessons I’ve learned from how to teach and coach, the fundamental beliefs that we had in New England.” He also thanked Belichick: “There are not enough words that I can put together to thank you for everything you have done for my family, my career, for me personally. I appreciate you and appreciate our time together so thank you.’’
2. Jim Bob Cooter will remain as his offensive coordinator. President Rod Wood said the decision was up to Patricia on which coaches remained on staff. Patricia was not forced to keep Cooter. “Obviously (Jim Bob) has done a great job here and what he’s been able to accomplish, both him and (Matthew) Stafford with the offense. He’s worked with a lot of guys I’ve worked with in the past and everyone speaks very highly of,’’ Patricia said. “I have a lot of respect for him because I’ve been on the other side of the ball going against him.’’
3. He’s not laying everything on the table the first day. Probably because there has been no time to make many decisions. Schemes are still up in the air. He would not say if the coordinators will do the play-calling. He will have a hand it in all. “You know the good thing about being a head coach is any time I want to call a play — offense, defense or special teams I just call it. That will be pretty exciting for me,’’ Patricia said.
4. Patricia said becoming an NFL head coach has been a lifelong dream that started when he was playing electric football with his buddies as a kid. “I knew at a very young age the strategic part of the game was something I loved, I thrived on it,’’ said Patricia who started his coaching career as a grad assistant at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he played on the offensive line and earned a degree in aeronautical engineering.
5. He doesn’t really know the city of Detroit, but knows of it. “I’m very excited to be a part of this historic and passionate city. Your love for sports both professionally and collegiate is second to none and I take that passion seriously,’’ Patricia said. “This is a blue collar, grind-it-out community that thrives on hard work and achieving success through commitment, teamwork and never-give-up attitude we’ll strive to replicate that on the field. I’m truly excited for the Lions’ fan base.’’