Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia sets the tone at first day of training camp

Improvement day by day is the goal

ALLEN PARK >> It’s not sexy — and it’s hardly new — but apparently Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia’s basic message to the team is to improve each day.

Also, don’t look back on last season.

(Are you still reading?)

The Lions opened training camp on Friday. It’s always a day that is starred on NFL calendars. It’s like Christmas in July. Add a new head coach to the equation and the interest grows. It’s all good for a team coming off a 9-7 season.

But know this, Patricia is looking to coach these guys up much more than he’s looking to fill reporters’ notebooks with juicy tidbits. Apparently the team is taking that same approach.

Check out these two quotes from post-practice on Friday:

Safety Glover Quin: “We’ve got to stack good days on top of good days and try to get better all across the board. We’re very detailed in what we’re doing. Understanding the system, understand the concepts of everything. Just try to get better, stay healthy, try to take care of your body and keep your head down and just grind it out, grind through training camp, get to the season and grind through the season. Look up at the end and you’re in the playoffs, hopefully making a run for it.’’

Left tackle Taylor Decker: “Looking forward to stacking one day on top of one another and it’s pretty simple, I know it sounds cliche but try to get better every day and improve constantly.’’

Right out of the handbook. It’s similar to the approach taken by coach Jim Caldwell who tried to work his magic on this bunch for five seasons.

“We talk to the team every day. I try to coach them up every single day on specific details or putting emphasis on what we’re trying to accomplish that day. I think it’s always good to sit in front of a group, football team, whatever it may be and say, ‘Hey, here are our goals for today.’ And try to keep it on the short term. And they change day by day,’’ Patricia said on Friday.

“There are obviously long-picture goals and things like that — you know, for us with training camp, our biggest focus is to try to have the best practice we can have right now and we’re not really going to look past that,” Patricia added.

The coach hasn’t mentioned the playoffs or getting to the Super Bowl, a regular event when he was with the New England Patriots. It’s all about the day-to-day grind.

“Big picture goals for us—and it’s going to be another generic kind of overview—is going to be to improve as we go through. And how do we grade and evaluate that improvement. So, certainly right now where we are we should be better in a week and hopefully a month, and then as we look at September through October, our whole goal—big picture goal—will be to improve as the course of the season goes,’’ Patricia said Friday morning just before he took the field for camp.

It’s early but it appears the players have bought in. Will it continue?

“We’re just out here working, that’s what (Patricia) talks about a lot. Just make sure we put in the work,’’ Quin said. “At the end of the day you’ve got to put in the work whether you’re thinking short-term or thinking long-term you have to put in the work. This is Day One practice of hopefully 100-something.’’

The grind continues on Saturday.

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Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on Amazon.com. She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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