ALLEN PARK — Breaking it down, coach Matt Patricia is leaning on hard work, fundamentals and a grind-it-out approach to making improvements after a 3-6 start by the Lions.
They have lost three straight by double digits — including Sunday’s 34-22 loss at the Bears — and now play two games in the next 10 days.
First up are the Carolina Panthers (6-3) who played on Thursday so have had 11 days to prepare for the Lions. Then they face the Bears (6-3) again on Thanksgiving.
Patricia, in his first year as a head coach, has the coach-speak down. It’s the winning that has eluded him.
Five thoughts from his Monday press conference:
1. The coach downplayed any notion that the Lions are not prepared for the opposition each week. “We’re preparing hard every week. I don’t think we’ve walked into any game this year where we haven’t had any idea about our opponent,’’ Patricia said. Maybe so, but from all appearances the Lions are getting out-coached weekly. No doubt they spend hours watching film and work hard at practice. Taking it from the practice field to Sunday? That is often the untold story.
2. He also said they are sticking together — no divisiveness or finger-pointing in the locker room after a 3-6 start to the season. “I think overall the general mood is going to be disappointment for us, I know it’s disappointment from the fans. We’re all trying to get better and we’re all trying to work hard and make sure that doesn’t happen,’’ Patricia said. “We come in every single day and every single week, it’s not easy in the NFL we know that. Part of our job is to go out there and make sure we get better every single day and that’s what we’re trying to do.’’ It’s just something that has not been accomplished yet.
3. Patricia leans big on improving fundamentals on the Mondays after losses. It was no different on Monday. “Definitely some things on tape that we’ve got to get fixed like I mentioned (Sunday). A lot of it has to do with definitely some fundamental issues we’d like to get better,’’ Patricia said. “I think there was some things on tape that could get better from a fundamental standpoint that we worked on last week so that was good. Maybe just a little more consistency in all those areas would be better. We’ve got to keep the emphasis on the coaching part of that make sure that happens during the course and the course of the week.’’
4. Last week, Patricia fired special teams coordinator Joe Marciano after the loss at the Vikings. This was his reply on Monday when asked if there will be more changes: “It was what it was, we’re just pushing forward this week, we’re just on schedule , grinding away. We’re not doing anything right now.’’
5. Ziggy Ansah played in his second consecutive game, after missing six with a shoulder injury. The defensive end did not start and was on the field for just 15 snaps (26 percent of the defense) on Sunday. The previous week it was a dozen snaps (24 percent). “We’re trying to put him in positions where he can make some plays, put him in a situation where he can perform at a high level, but there’s some other players out there on the field we’re using in some different situations – we’re kind of rolling all those guys,’’ Patricia said. “He certainly has a role right now that he’s trying to work through to get better and hopefully get a little bit more as we go through the course of the rest of the season.’’ He didn’t guarantee more work for Ansah, instead saying it’s a work in progress.’’ Ansah had a sack in each of his two previous games this season. But on Sunday, he broke his strong of four straight games with at least a sack.
EXTRA: Sam Martin is OK and said he will play on Sunday against the Panthers. The punter was taken by ambulance to a Chicago hospital as a precaution after the game, but flew back to Detroit with the team. He would not give any specifics.