The day after a disastrous loss at home on national television, there is nothing but silence from the Detroit Lions. Around the Lions media, all we have are acknowledgements from the usual suspects that no new information is available to any of them:
Not to my knowledge. (The post-Thanksgiving presser is usually Monday most years anyway, if memory serves.) https://t.co/jx64L3bYzh— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) November 27, 2020
At the absolute minimum, you have to give, “Hey, what a strange year. The season has been extremely disappointing. We’re going to evaluate everything after Week 17.” https://t.co/VR3lgQVubH— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) November 27, 2020
While we wait for smoke to emerge from the compound at Allen Park, some of the beat writers have taken to reflecting on the tenure of head coach Matt Patricia at the helm of the Lions. Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press looked in on what happened to other head coaches who took over teams at the same time as Patricia in 2018. Obviously, the most successful was Mike Vrabel with the Tennessee Titans, who lost in the AFC title game last year and are in good position to win the AFC South division in 2020. Frank Reich with the Colts, Matt Nagy with the Bears, and the Raiders’ Jon Gruden all still have playoff hopes alive this season. Only Pat Shurmur (fired by the Giants) and Steve Wilks (fired by the Cardinals) had less success than Patricia has had so far with the Lions.
MLive’s Kyle Meinke thinks it’s fine either way for the new decision maker in ownership to fire Patricia now or later, but that Sheila Ford Hamp needs to say something. Meinke believes Patricia has been a “dead man walking” since the loss to Carolina, so the particular timing of the change is not a big deal. The issue is engagement with the fanbase to let them know that ownership is paying attention and is not hiding in shame.
Birkett also pointed out that the state of the franchise is worse than even the record indicates: the team is simply not competitive.
The worst part of the Lions' recent losing ways is how uncompetitive they've been. In 2018-20, they've lost 6, 4 and 5 games (and counting, in the last instance) by double digits.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) November 27, 2020
From 2010-17, they had one season - 2015 - when they lost as many as 4 games by 10+
He goes on to point out that the structure of the modern NFL is designed to prevent blowouts. The fact the Lions are getting destroyed rather than merely edged out in their contests is a bad sign:
Another reference points, the Jets - the worst team in the NFL - have lost six games by double digits this season. The Lions have lost five.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) November 27, 2020
Related to what Birkett tweeted, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, pointed out in his article calling for Patricia to be replaced that the last four losses by the Lions were all by double-digits. So, aside from a nearly-blown fourth quarter lead over Washington, November has been a month of nothing but blowout losses. Rothstein noted the current head coach would need to win out the rest of the way in 2020 to simply match the number of wins of the head coach he replaced.
Birkett also had a cool factoid about Thanksgiving and head coaching changes in Detroit:
For the historians, Mariucci was fired the Monday after Thanksgiving, though I believe Millen tried to do it a couple days earlier https://t.co/A4HRdnHUg9— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) November 27, 2020
And now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- How much “man” vs. zone coverage have the Lions called? ESPN’s Mike Rothstein has the rates from ESPN Stats and Info. Zone percentage = (100 - Man percentage):
Man defense by Lions:
Week 1: 82.1 %
Week 2: 81.8 %
Week 3: 55.6 %
Week 4: 63.0 %
Week 6: 39.1 %
Week 7: 50.0 %
Week 8: 61.1 %
Week 9: 61.9%
Week 10: 50.0 %
Week 11: 55.6 %
Week 12: 56.7%
- Jeff Risdon at Lions Wire is disgusted by how offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell keeps going away from what’s working early in games.
Hockenson 1st half stats: 4 targets, 4 catches, 80 yards— John Whiticar (@Whiticar) November 27, 2020
Hockenson 2nd half stats: 4 targets, 1 catch, 9 yards
This offense keeps feeding Hockenson in the first half then forgets he exists. It's not like he had a bunch of drops either.
- Per Tankathon, the Lions are now in position to pick ninth in the upcoming draft (hat tip to @ChrisBurkeNFL).
- If you were wondering about that blatantly faked injury by Charles Omenihu of the Texans, per Michael David Smith at Pro Football Talk it is against the rules and could result in a fine even if it did not draw a flag during the game.
- The Lions were not “ultra-aggressive” with Stafford’s throws on Thanksgiving:
Average completed air yards yesterday (Watson is averaging 7.2 for the season): pic.twitter.com/suTjWcRUlF— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) November 27, 2020
- Finishing on a positive note for this Thanksgiving week: