Lions’ Damon Harrison takes blame in defensive woes against the run

Five thoughts from ‘Snacks’

ALLEN PARK — After three straight losses, the Lions’ defense is under scrutiny.

 It allowed 503 net yards, including 166 rushing yards in the loss to the Vikings on Sunday.

The head-scratcher is that going into the season, the Lions’ defensive line looked like it would be the strength of the defense.

So far that has not been the case.

Lions coach Matt Patricia blamed it on lack of communication, consistency and the need for better coaching on Monday. He still thinks they can improve in the 10 games left this season. 

“We’re always going to coach, and work, and try to improve and get better. Certainly, that’s happened many times in the years past where teams have gotten better as the season has gone on,’’ Patricia said on Monday.

Defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison agreed with his coach about communication and working on the details.

Harrison said no one is panicking yet, but they are certainly disappointed in the 2-3-1 start this season.

Five thoughts from Harrison: 

1. He points a finger at himself for not playing up to his usual standards. “Obviously it’s very disappointing, especially having the guys we have in the room. It really starts with me upfront, I have to do a better job in the middle getting some of those plays that I’m used to making that I’m not making this year,’’ Harrison said on Monday. “There’s a lot of things that I can blame it on but the only thing I can do at the end of the day is throw effort at it during the practice week and try to perform on Sunday.’’

2. The veteran, in his eighth NFL season, can’t pinpoint why he’s not making the plays he used to make routinely. “Let’s just say teams are doing a good job of making sure I’m accounted for, it hasn’t stopped me in the past and I don’t see why it should stop me now,’’ Harrison said.

3. When last season ended, the Lions defense was one of the best in stopping the run. Today they’re ranked 28th in the NFL, allowing an average of 139.2 rushing yards per game. (The overall defense is ranked 31st.) “It’s been a long season and we have a long season ahead of us, again we can’t look back in the past and we damn sure can’t look at what we did last year,’’ Harrison said. “It’s a new year, the offenses get paid too so they’ve done a pretty good job a scheming up some runs and things we aren’t doing well they’re exploiting them.’’

4. Harrison said he doesn’t think it has anything to do with missing the preseason. “There’s a lot of things to blame it on, that’s one of the things. Obviously I missed a lot of the preseason but again I’ve been playing football for a long time and the game hasn’t changed. Just got to get better and get better fast,’’ Harrison said.

5. The Lions host the Giants, Harrison’s former team, on Sunday at Ford Field. He said it’s no big deal. The big deal is facing Giants’ running back Saquon Barkley. “Because he’s big, fast and strong and can catch the ball out of the backfield,’’ Harrison said. “He can do just about everything on the football field including lining up at receiver. I’m pretty sure he can play quarterback too, he’s just one heck of an athlete.’’

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

Mike Daniels says Matt Patricia is reason he signed with Detroit Lions

ALLEN PARK — Thirteen NFL teams called within the first hour after defensive tackle Mike Daniels was released by the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday.

He signed with the Detroit Lions on Saturday and was on the practice field on Sunday for the fourth day of training camp. He was not in pads so he didn’t fully participate but he was out there soaking it in.

Make no mistake about it, there was one reason that Daniels chose the Lions. His name is Matt Patricia.

“He’s just a genius, he really is. He understands the game of football he knows what it takes to be able to play for a coach like that means everything,’’ the 30-year-old Daniels said. “I’m trying to be restrained right now but I’m so excited if I could do a backflip right now I would, I’m so excited.’’

Daniels, who played for the past seven seasons with the Packers, had never met Patricia until their interview on Friday.

“I knew everything about him, I’ve always respected him and respected his work. I thank God I got cut and I have an opportunity to play with a defensive genius,’’ Daniels said. “I’m glad I get the opportunity to play for a coach that demands doing things the right way.

Daniels will join Snacks Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, Trey Flowers, Da’Shawn Hand and Romeo Okwara on the defensive line. 

“They definitely have a tough defensive front, they’ve always done a great job. I’ve always respected the Lions’ defensive front and now with coach Paticia being here and seeing the guys he’s brought over here they’ve only gotten better, couldn’t help but notice,’’ Daniels said. “To be able to play with those guys is awesome.’’

He said he’s known Harrison since college and has the utmost admiration for him.

While Daniels seems elated to be in Detroit, he was careful not to in any way slam the Packers. 

He credits Green Bay coaches for making him the player he is today.

Daniels missed the last six games of the season in 2018 with a foot injury. He wasn’t clear when asked about his foot.

“Just working and taking everything day by day,” Daniels said.

Patricia was also a little unclear about the status of Daniels’ foot injury.

“You’re not going to throw him in there for 1,000 reps. That’s not really going to work, but you just go along with kind of the pattern of what I said,’’ Patricia said. “He’ll be out there and go through the drills, and we’ll get familiar with him from that standpoint. Trust him, he’s a professional. He’s done this for a long time at a high level. That feedback is critical for me, and our coaching staff, and our medical staff.’’

 

Detroit Lions Da’Shawn Hand claims he’s a snacks connoisseur and proves it

Flaming-hot Funyuns a favorite

ALLEN PARK — Da’Shawn Hand may be a rookie, but the Lions defensive tackle knows his snacks. In fact, he considers himself a connoisseur.

Oddly enough, his locker is next to NFL veteran Damon “Snacks” Harrison who earned his reputation over the years.

“You can ask the whole D-line, they get mad at me because I can eat. But see, I got a good figure. Hey, listen. It’s hard to come by. I ain’t saying nothing about Snacks’ (figure),’’ said Hand who is 6-foot-3 and a svelte 297 pounds, compared to the original “Snacks” who weighs 353.

Either Hand can’t narrow down his favorite snacks, or he’s looking for a sponsor.

“See it depends on what I’m in the mood for. I can always do a good fruit snack. You’ve got different types of fruit snacks. You’ve got the Welch’s, you’ve got Scooby-Doo. Then like Mott’s it just depends. Welch’s is a solid universe everybody likes that. Mott’s I’ve got to be in the mood for, I get kind of tired. then you’ve got fruit-rollups, oh man,’’ said Hand who was just getting started.

“Then Danish, you’ve got little cakes  — you’ve got oatmeal cream pies, you’ve got zebra cakes, you’ve got little strawberry shortcake rolls. There’s just endless possibilities.’’

Onto salty snacks.

“Then as far as chips I like flaming-hot stuff. So you’ve got flaming-hot Funyuns (not regular Funyuns). You get that with a nice sandwich – ooohh.”

Then the understatement.

“I like eating. You opened up something,’’ Hand said.

“You know Italian subs — instead of ham you get turkey then everything else — pepperonis and all that stuff,’’ said Hand seemed to be enjoying his snacks soliloquy.

“How about Hand sandwich? Hands-on Club?” He’s right, so many possibilities.

Don’t forget candy.

“Chocolate, I’ll do Twix and maybe a KitKat, Butterfinger, Reese’s sometimes. When it comes to candy, I LOVE candy. Especially sour stuff — sour gummy worms, sour gummy bears, strawberry sour patches those are the best type for real,’’ Hand said. “If you’ve learned something today, I highly recommend you try it.’’

We’ve also learned that Hand knows his way around the snacks aisle at the grocery store.