Linebacker Jamie Collins, a linebacker with a history playing under recently fired Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, is quickly moving on from the team’s decision last Saturday, instead hoping to keep focus on the rest of the schedule ahead.
“We just gotta adjust, can't get distracted,” Collins told reporters on Wednesday. “Good thing is, we are all still fighting for a common goal, and that’s just to win.”
Wednesday was the first practice since Detroit fired Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn last weekend after the team suffered a 41-25 defeat to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving. The loss was the Lions’ fourth in the last five games—each of which were decided by double digits. It dropped Patricia’s record as a head coach to 13-29-1 over three seasons.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has taken over as interim head coach.
“I felt it,” Collins said of the firing. “It was rough, but it is what it is.”
Collins did not join the Lions until 2020, but has a long history with Patricia. The linebacker was selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft while Patricia served as defensive coordinator. He played his first three NFL seasons in New England before being traded to the Cleveland Browns in 2016.
He was brought in this offseason to be a defensive leader and was part of a large-scale project to bring many former Patriots that played under Patricia to Detroit.
Collins told reporters that he has checked in with Patricia and Quinn in recent days, and mentioned that he even regularly checked in with the coach when he was not playing for his team.
Many fans and members of the media have been discussing the potential for Patricia to get fired throughout the season. Patricia even fielded questions about his job security after losses in recent weeks. Collins said that he ignored much of the noise, and did not think at all about his coach’s job security in the weeks leading up to the firing.
“I gotta deal with big, fast, strong, physical guys on the field every Sunday... [coaching moves are] above my pay grade,” Collins said.
Detroit has five games left to play this season under Bevell, and while it is a longshot, they still have a mathematical chance to make the playoffs this season.
Collins has been on a team that made a change at head coach mid-season before. In 2018, the Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson midseason with a 2-5-1 record. Collins’ team would end up winning five of their last seven games, ending the season with a respectable 7-8-1 record.
Having that success in his back pocket, and with playoff hopes still alive, Collins is not allowing this move to sink the team.
“It’s hard when you lose your head guy, but you can't tank it, you can't sink,” he said, “It’s hard but we can’t drown in it.”