Patriots

Here’s what the Lions are saying about former head coach Matt Patricia ahead of Sunday’s matchup

The Patriots' offensive line coach/senior football advisor will face off against his former team for the first time on Sunday.

Matt Patricia spent two-plus years as head coach of the Detroit Lions, compiling a record of 13-29-1. Chris Unger/Getty Images

As Patriots senior football advisor/offensive line coach Matt Patricia prepares to face his old team on Sunday, some of his former players weighed in on his new role with New England.

Patricia, who began as an offensive assistant with the Patriots in 2004 before moving to the defensive side and eventually becoming New England’s defensive coordinator between 2012 and 2017, was the Lions’ head coach from 2018 to 2020. He and general manager Bob Quinn were fired in November of the 2020 season.

In his two-plus years with Detroit, Patricia compiled a record of 13-29-1. His tenure was marked by a decline following his first season, as well as numerous run-ins with the media and a sexual assault indictment from 1996 that resurfaced before Patricia coached his first game with Detroit.

Patricia returned to New England following the 2020 season, taking on the role of senior football advisor and working on a variety of projects for Bill Belichick in 2021. He adopted a much larger role this season in the wake of Josh McDaniels’s departure, adding the title of offensive line coach and taking over play-calling duties for the offense in each of the Patriots’ first four games.

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Patricia’s former Lions players aren’t overly shocked by his shift to the offensive side of the ball.

Lions left tackle Taylor Decker told the Detroit Free Press that, while he assumed Patricia would return to defense following his time in Detroit, he isn’t surprised that Patricia is able to handle offensive duties.

“It wouldn’t be something that I would expect, but especially from like the coordinator standpoint, I mean, it’s not surprising that he would be able to pick up those reins,” Decker said. “And obviously Bill Belichick is really good at what he does. I’m not going to second-guess his decisions.”

Left guard Jonah Jackson, who played for Patricia in 2020, echoed a similar sentiment.

“Defensive coaches understand what it takes to run a good offense,” Jackson told the Free Press. “I wouldn’t doubt he’s able to correlate those things into the other side of the ball. Smart guy. Aeronautical sciences? That’s a lot harder than figuring out how to put out 11 personnel.”

He continued, “I think he’s a great coach, period. I had a lot of respect for him. He brought me here, he gave me the opportunity to play professional football, but yeah, [the Patriots] are doing pretty good on offense so I root for him and wish him the best, unless it’s this week.”

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Current Lions head coach Dan Campbell, who did not work with Patricia in Detroit, also weighed in on his shift from defensive to offensive play-calling.

“If you know football and you’re a good coach, you can adapt, and that’s what I see,” Campbell said. “He’s adapting quickly, and every week … it’s better and better and better and they’re attacking their opponents. They’re putting together good game plans. They’re using the roster well. So he’s doing a good job, he really is.”

Patricia will look to make rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe, New England’s likely Week 5 starter, comfortable against a Lions defense that enters Sunday’s matchup last in the league in both yards and points allowed per game.

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