Since the Detroit Lions made everything official with new head coach Matt Patricia on Wednesday, it gave the players an opportunity to finally give their opinion on the hire. Obviously, none of the players are going to come out and trash the hire—they’d essentially be signing their own ticket out of town. However, it’s still interesting to see some of the excitement spread around the teams.
First, there was safety Tavon Wilson. Wilson is actually a free agent, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be coming back for the 2018 season. However, Wilson does have one thing working in his favor: He has played under Matt Patricia before. Wilson was drafted by the Patriots in the second round back in 2012 and played in 54 games over four years with New England.
Patricia was promoted to defensive coordinator the same year Wilson was drafted, and at first, their partnership looked good. Wilson started in four games in his rookie year and racked up four interceptions. However, Wilson would slowly get phased out of the defense and didn’t end up starting another game after his first year in New England.
So how does Wilson feel about the hire?
So excited for Matty P!— Tavon Wilson (@tavonwilson) February 7, 2018
Clearly Wilson believes that Patricia is a good coach and is happy to see him land in Detroit.
But it’s unclear if the feeling is mutual. The Patriots let Wilson hit free agency in 2015 after Wilson failed to grow into a starter despite his high draft status. The Lions have some other options at safety (Quandre Diggs, Miles Killebrew), so Wilson isn’t necessarily a high-priority re-signing.
Elsewhere, local T.J. Lang was actually on hand for Patricia’s press conference. He seemed to get swept up in the excitement and is ready to go right now:
I know it’s only February but damn I’m ready to get started! https://t.co/LA28z2Jrjk— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) February 7, 2018
But best of all, when a disgruntled Patriots fan tried to troll him, he fired back in a way only Lang can. (Note: The Patriots fan deleted their tweet, so the conversation is screenshotted below)
Michael Roberts and Eric Ebron didn’t comment on the Matt Patricia hire, but both reacted to the news that their tight ends coach, Al Golden, had been reassigned to work with the linebackers in 2018:
Moved Al Golden to linebackers and ain’t even tell me .— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) February 7, 2018
Now before you rev up your Ebron Hater 2000, let’s be clear here: Ebron was joking. He was making a reference to Aaron Rodgers not being notified that the Packers’ quarterback coach was getting fired. In fact, Ebron said that he thinks the linebacking unit may be the best on the team next year, and called Al Golden “great.”
Finally, there’s Ezekiel Ansah, who kept things very plain and simple.