Lions Matthew Stafford likes excitement that interim coach Darrell Bevell brings

Of all the Lions, quarterback Matthew Stafford probably knows interim coach Darrell Bevell best. The two have worked together closely since Bevell started as offensive coordinator before the 2019 season..

Bevell was named to replace Matt Patricia on Saturday after the coach and general manager Bob Quinn were fired.

Bevell said he’s jacked up and ready to go during a media Zoom call on Monday.

“I’m asking the guys to come in with a refreshed attitude, ready to work No. 1, but ready to have a good time and let them play with their hair on fire. Let them play fast, let them play free,’’ Bevell said.

He mentioned the word fun repeatedly. And, like Stafford, neither of them would not disparage the past regime. Both are only looking forward.

However, a close look between the lines shows clearly not enough fun was being had by the Lions probably for the last three seasons. Winning leads to fun and there wasn’t much of that under Patricia.

The Lions have five games remaining, starting at Chicago on Sunday, to finish the year on a somewhat positive note and to show what Bevell can accomplish in his first stint as a head coach.

“When you’re a player and you get that coach that’s excited like that it’s a fun thing. As a player this is a fun game, it’s an exciting game, let’s go have some fun and play with some excitement and passion and I know that Bev brings it in his own way, every person is different,’’ Stafford said. “He’s going to be comfortable with who he is, he’s going to bring his energy that’s authentic and natural to him. It’s on us to make that come to life on the field on Sundays and win games.’’

Stafford is excited for the defensive players to get to know Bevell who has met twice with the players on Zoom. Per the NFL, all team facilities were closed Monday and Tuesday to help try to control the coronavirus spread.

The quarterback said the biggest thing for the players is to respond to what Bevell will bring to the team.

The 50-year-old Bevell started his NFL coaching career in 2000 as assistant quarterbacks coach for the Green Bay Packers. From 2003-05 he was elevated to quarterbacks coach working with Brett Favre.

That connection hasn’t been lost on Stafford who shares a bit of the gunslinger attitude that was typical Favre.

“I think from Day One when I first met (Bevell) he’s always been the same guy. He’s been positive, upbeat. He loves coming to work — he loves the game of football,’’ Stafford said. “He’s lucky early in his career, he got to spend a lot of time around Brett Favre. It’s a similar kind of feel where they just love the game for the game. I know Bev has great appreciation for Brett and it probably rubbed off on him a little bit on how much fun a grown man can have playing a kids game. He brings that kind of youthful joy to the game and always has since I met him.’’

BONUS: Stafford was curious to see the Broncos’ game on Sunday, more for how often his buddy Sam Martin had to punt since all three quarterbacks were quarantined. Denver’s starter was a practice squad wide receiver (Kendall Hinton) who had never taken a snap in practice. 

The Lions would not be in such a dire predicament.

“For us, we actually kind of have a sneaky talented group of throwers,’’ Stafford said. “(Mohamed) Sanu’s passer rating is perfect. (Danny) Amendola throws it good. (Jamal) Agnew dropped a dime on me at Thanksgiving that I dropped. There’s endless possibilities, we’ll keep defenses guessing with that one, but hopefully we don’t have to find out.’’

Five reasons the Lions lost to the Texans

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions’ fourth straight loss on Thanksgiving, could be the end for coach Matt Patricia.

The Lions’ three turnovers told just part of the story in the 41-25 loss to the Houston Texans (4-7) at Ford Field on Thursday.  

“It’s not good enough, we know that, we’ve got to be better,’’ Patricia said.

The coach could finish out this his third season, the Ford family hasn’t had anything to say since a year ago when they said they wanted to see the Lions play meaningful games in December.

Well at 4-7, really there is no meaning at all. The ball is in owner Sheila Ford Hamp’s court. It’s got to be  just a matter of time at this point. In nearly three seasons, Patricia is 13-29-1.

Patricia would not comment on his future with the team. “I focus one day at a time, that doesn’t change,’’ the coach said.

Five reasons the Lions lost:

1. The Lions lost two fumbles — one by Kerryon Johnson and another by Jonathan Williams. Who? Yes, it was the running back’s first carry this season for the Loins and he fumbled the ball. Why was he in the game? Adrian Peterson was getting a breather but Kerryon Johnson was available. A total head-scratcher.

2. Matthew Stafford threw just one interception but it was costly. It was picked off by J.J. Watt (his first interception this season) and returned 20 yards for a touchdown. “Big turnovers at the beginning of the game killed the momentum it made it tough to come back,’’ Stafford said. He credited Watt for making a great play on the interception. Stafford passed for 295 yards and one touchdown. He was also sacked four times. The play-calling was mostly predictable again. Adrian Peterson ran on the first play of three of the Lions’ series. Tight end T.J. Hockenson was the go-to guy with five catches for 89 yards.

3. The Lions’ secondary was dinged up and missing Jeff Okudah, Amani Oruwariye and Mike Ford. Then Desmond Trufant pulled a hamstring and couldn’t finish. Still no excuses. It was a great day for Deshaun Watson who didn’t have much trouble finding wide-open receivers. Wide open. He threw for 318 yards including four touchdown passes and was sacked just twice.

4. Even without D’Andre Swift (concussion) the Lions run game was decent. After a slow start (eight carries for six yards), Adrian Peterson had a good stretch in the second half and finished with 15 carries for 55 yards. Kerryon Johnson stepped up with 11 carries for 46 yards and four catches for 52 yards. Decent is not good enough.

5. Coaching. At the start of the third quarter, the Lions, who were down 23-14, ran on 10 straight plays. That drive ended in a Matt Prater field goal. Eating up the clock when down 9 points? That’s only in the Patricia playbook. Coaching is an issue each week which is why Sheila Ford Hamp has to take a serious look at Patricia’s future. His firing would send a message to the team. It is not going to get them to the playoffs, but this team needs a new message and messenger. So do the fans.

Next up: Lions at Chicago, Dec. 6.

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

Five things to watch as Detroit Lions face Texans

The Lions look to snap a three-game losing streak on Thanksgiving Day when they face the Houston Texans at Ford Field.

The Lions (4-6) are coming off one of the most embarrassing losses in recent years (and that says a lot), after they were shut out 20-0 on Sunday at Carolina.

It’s quite the opposite for the Texans (3-7) who beat the Patriots 27-20 on Sunday.

Coach Matt Patricia’s job could be on the line after this game. While he said he saw some positives on the film from Carolina, he could not sugarcoat it.

“Obviously, the negative was there, and it was glaring and that’s what we’re trying to get fixed,’’ said Patricia who has uttered basically the same thing every week.

Five things to watch:

1. Matthew Stafford was pressured all day long and sacked five times by the Panthers. It won’t get any easier facing J.J. Watt who has four sacks and eight quarterback hits in the first 10 games. “I would say the thing about this guy that is amazing is how competitive he is all the way through the game,’’ Patricia said. “It doesn’t matter the situation, this guy always has that mentality that he’s going to make a play to win, and a lot of times, he does. You see games where defenses have had him wrapped up in the backfield and it’s a sack and the game is over, and he gets out, he gets his eyes downfield, he makes an amazing throw and threads the needle.’’

2. The offensive could get a boost with the likely return of running back D’Andre Swift who was out on Sunday with a concussion. He practiced on limited basis on Tuesday and is questionable for the game. He could provide a big plus. If he’s not ready, Kerryon Johnson should get a better look. Give him a start and a chance to prove himself. Adrian Peterson may be a future Hall of Famer, but he hasn’t had the production needed for this offense in recent games.

3. Wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola didn’t play on Sunday and will be sidelined again on Thursday. One thing is for certain, whoever is on the receiving end of a Stafford pass needs to catch the ball and hold on. Drops were one of many issues at Carolina.

4. The defense faces another top quarterback in Deshaun Watson who has thrown 20 touchdown passes against just five interceptions. “I would say the thing about this guy that is amazing is how competitive he is all the way through the game. It doesn’t matter the situation, this guy always has that mentality that he’s going to make a play to win, and a lot of times, he does. You see games where defenses have had him wrapped up in the backfield and it’s a sack and the game is over, and he gets out, he gets his eyes downfield, he makes an amazing throw and threads the needle,’’ Patricia said. 

5. Coaching has to improve, players need to be better prepared even on a short week. On Sunday, TV analyst Chris Spielman suggested on a Panthers’ third-down and long play they would go to Curtis Samuel like they usually do. Bingo. And the pass was complete because the Lions weren’t prepared. It wasn’t a lucky guess by Spielman, it was because he had done his homework. Funny how that works.

Prediction: Texans 28, Lions 17