ALLEN PARK — Lions coach Matt Patricia defended his decision to hold practice outdoors on Thursday despite the snow and cold and the fact that the Lions next four games are indoors.
At his Friday press conference, he started with a statement praising veterans before Sunday’s Salute to Service day.
Then the coach, who seemed agitated, read a prepared script on the outdoor practice seeking to get “closure to this continuing conversation as far as our training.”
Patricia doesn’t talk to the media on Thursdays so he didn’t address the uncommon notion of practicing outdoors in the snow when the four upcoming games are indoors.
He ended his Friday remarks with a snarky comment about the media.
“We’re going to be practicing inside today just so everybody’s clear, make sure everybody is good, with all the head coaches in the room on that. Everybody good there?’’ Patricia asked. “Again there’s some wind out there , some gusts, probably a good idea to practice inside. It’s all based on what’s best for the team at that moment.’’
The Lions are 3-6 and preparing to play the Carolina Panthers (6-3) on Sunday at Ford Field.
In Patricia’s remarks he started off by saying: “First, we’ll always practice and train in a manner that looks out for our players’ ability to prepare each week for our poopent while taking care of including all parameters to the overall health and safety of our team. Indoor walk-throughs which we had this week which we’ve also had in the past are always beneficial to our team, beneficial to our players, it’s a great teaching and learning environment. It’s an opportunity to pull off physically the demands of practice …’’
He went on, saying the downside of practicing on the indoor turf is the wearing effect it has on players’ bodies.
“Standing on turf or running on turf often time for extended periods of time affects joints, affects swelling and causes the bodies on different members of our team to have pain or joint swelling that will cause them further delay,’’ Patricia said.
He said he wanted to work in pads on fundamentals so Thursday’s practice was outdoors.
“Practicing in pads on turf is a little bit of an extra risk in my mind in some of those situations where feet or footwork might be stuck in the turf in different situations where as the grass or natural ground has a little more give. In those situations it’s safer for us to go outside in practice in pads …’’ said Patricia whose Lions are 3-6.
“Going outside yesterday allowed us the opportunity to focus on our fundamentals which we needed to do and take care and make sure we’re technically sound in some of our footwork. … The focus is most of the skilled players have to keep their feet underneath them be able to break with low center of gravity and play technically sound which is always good from a fundamental standpoint it was a good opportunity to get that done. The temperature outside was not a factor it was not cold, there was not a heavy wind. It was an easy day for us to go outside and get some good work done.’’
It was in the low 30s and snowing on Thursday when Patricia wore shorts at practice.
“Working through conditions that are not ideal as a football team is also another benefit for us to take live learning environments and turn them into actual teaching moments outside. It also allows us to focus on details of technique and the awareness of our surroundings which we’ll have to play through at some point through the course of the year,’’ Patricia said.
The Lions play at Buffalo on Dec. 16.