ALLEN PARK — Matt Patricia is focused on the Lions’ final two games this season more than his immediate future.
With the Lions at 3-10-1, there is no guarantee the coach will return for a third season.
“For me, one of the things that you realize pretty quick when you get in the game of football – college, NFL, it doesn’t really matter what it is – coaching is a tough profession. Playing is a tough profession. It’s a mindset that you probably just develop early on,’’ Patricia said on Monday following the 38-17 loss to the Bucs on Sunday.
“When I was in other places and worked at other places, part of the thing that just makes me, me, is that I go into work every single day trying to earn my job that day. I would go in and make sure that my key card worked, and I was in the building and I was OK,’’ he added.
Patricia, who often spends the night at the Lions facility, even showed a little sense of humor in his reply.
“It’s most of the reason why I don’t leave the building because they’re going to have to throw me out, like I’ve said before,’’ Patricia said. “From that aspect of it, that’s all you can control is just your effort that day and your drive that day to be better as a player, as a coach, as a team, and that’s all I really worry about.”
He was seen talking at length on the sideline prior to Sunday’s game to owner Martha Firestone Ford and her daughter Sheila Ford Hemp but he never discloses the content of their discussions. If he knows his future with the team, he is not saying.
“I just expect to be here every day until they tell me not to. Hopefully, that’ll be a long time,’’ Patricia said.
The Lions went 6-10 in his first season and have fallen on hard times this season. They’ve been hit with a ton of injuries. When they placed Kenny Wiggins and Mike Daniels on injured reserve on Monday they joined a dozen other teammates in that classification.
Despite seven straight losses, Patricia always emphasizes that the team continues to fight. The toughness and competitive spirit of the players is a foundation for building a perennial winner.
“I think that’s where you need to start, and I would say that’s where we’re at right now,’’ Patricia said. “We obviously need to add some pieces, and we need to get better, and we need to improve, and hopefully stay a little bit more healthy than where we’re at right now. I think those things will build on top of each other from there.”
The Lions play at the Denver Broncos (5-9) on Sunday and then wrap up the season against the Green Bay Packers (11-3) at Ford Field on Sunday, Dec. 29.