Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia has been the target of criticism pretty much from the minute he landed in Detroit back in February of 2018. Of course, as a head coach who took the Lions from back-to-back 9-7 seasons to 6-10 and 3-12-1 records, some of that criticism is understandably warranted.
Lately, too, some former players have come out and spoken against the way Patricia conducts the team as a leader. Most recently, Darius Slay spoke about an incident with Patricia in which he was, in Slay’s view, publicly humiliated in front of the team. That incident impacted Slay so much that he didn’t believe he could play another year under Patricia.
“Yeah. Right there, after that, that’s when all my respect went out the door for him. As a man,” Slay told ESPN Michael Rothstein.
“You can go ask anyone in the locker room right now what they think of coach or how he runs the team, and they’re 100 percent behind him,” Quinn said in a teleconference on Friday. “You can’t make everybody happy in this business in terms of how you do certain things.”
In fact, Quinn went as far as saying as he had several free agents have their agents reach out to him personally, eager to join Detroit and Patricia.
“I can just say from the guys we signed in free agency, the guys that wanted to be here—a number of guys in our free agent class reached out to us,” Quinn said. “Obviously we liked them as players, but in the weeks leading up to free agency, those guys had their agents call me and say, ‘Hey, my guy wants to be there and play for coach.’”
It’s worth noting, of course, that the Lions signed several former Patriots this offseason who have worked with Patricia before, including Jamie Collins Sr., Danny Shelton and Darryl Roberts. They also traded for Patriots safety Duron Harmon, who, according to Quinn, was extremely excited to be a part of the Lions.
“I’ve never seen a player more excited to be traded—and we’ve done a lot of trades since I’ve been here—than Duron Harmon,” Quinn said. “He was like literally jumping out of my FaceTime wanting to come out here immediately.”
Harmon certainly reflected that enthusiasm in his previous session with the Lions media in March.
“When I talked to Matty P, it was just excitement from both sides,” Harmon said. “I was excited to come out here and try to get an opportunity to expand my role and he was excited to get me back just as a player.”
As with any coach, you’re going to have some people respond to what they do and some people question their decisions. However, if you are to believe Quinn at his word now, the Lions have finally built the culture they’ve been seeking to create for three years now. If that’s the case, there are no more excuses for Patricia and company.