Head coach Matt Patricia was clearly on the defensive Friday morning as he addressed the media for the first time since Thursday’s practice. Patricia’s decision to practice outside in the snow—despite having four upcoming games indoors—went viral, with even media like Deadspin commenting on the curious decision.
Lions cornerback Darius Slay seemed a little puzzled by the decision, as he told media members in the locker room Thursday after practice.
“I don’t know. I mean, I’m just out there trying to stay warm, really,” cornerback Darius Slay said per ESPN. “Like you said, we got indoor games. Obviously, it doesn’t even matter.”
So to start off his press conference on Friday, Patricia nipped the issue in the bud, offering a lengthy statement on why he chose to bring the practice outdoors. You can watch the press conference below. His explanation starts at the 2:30 mark of the video below (if you can’t see the video, click here)
Here’s a non-comprehensive list of the reasons Patricia gave for his decision to practice outdoors, as well as the decision to do a walkthrough practice on Wednesday:
- Walkthroughs allow players to rest and those not able to physically practice to get in mental reps, preparing them for Sunday, even if they may not be able to go.
- Playing indoors on turf has a greater wear and tear on bigger-bodied players.
- Running on turf affects joints/swelling and is overall more dangerous than practicing on natural grass.
- Practicing outside prepares for natural elements of games.
- Practicing in pads on turf “is a little bit of an extra risk” than practicing on grass, especially when it comes to foot injuries.
- Playing outside allows players to focus on their fundamentals—particularly their footwork, which is essential to team success.
- Temperature was not a factor as it was not windy.
- Working through non-ideal weather conditions is a benefit to the overall team and provides “teaching moments.”
- Experience practicing in weather conditions allows the team to “remember that we’re always playing the team or the opponent, not the elements.”
It was a lengthy, but detailed response to a concern a lot of fans had. While many won’t be fans of the tone he took with the media—and others decidedly will be—at least Patricia took the time to answer a question fans had about a legitimately curious decision.