Dan Orlovsky: Lions Look "Flat And Tired"

The former Lions quarterback has noticed it for a while.

Will Burchfield
September 12, 2018 - 5:11 pm

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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Dan Orlovsky sees the same thing a lot of people see when sizing up the Lions in their first season under Matt Patricia. And the former Lions quarterback, who spent 10 years in the NFL, has an eye for it. 

"I've been saying this and I've been somewhat outspoken about it for the last three or four weeks. They look, in a way, flat and tired. I've said that. I thought I saw that in the preseason, just lacking some juice," Orlovsky told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket. "Especially on Monday Night Football, it’s the start of the season. I know the first play to Quandre (Diggs) was ridiculous and the place went nuts, but juice is something that is consistent. Juice is something that gets carried over time. It’s not momentary, it’s long-term, and I don’t see that. They just look a little flat and tired.

"Now, I’m not saying that is the case, it just looks like that from a person outside. And usually you can get a feeling as a player, you can see that stuff. That’s one of the things that kind of stands out." 

Patricia put the Lions through a rigorous training camp, with physical practices and lots of running. Then they played poorly in the preseason. That carried over into Monday night when the Lions were blasted by the Jets 48-17 and almost seemed to fold in the third quarter. 

Orlovksy, now a football analyst for ESPN, isn't sure if training camp is at the root of the Lions' apparent fatigue. He wasn't there for it, nor has he asked any players about it. Patricia, by all appearances, is employing the same coaching tactics he learned in New England -- which have worked just fine for his mentor, Bill Belichick. 

"You can’t blame it on, hey, things are hard, because the Patriots, from what we know, do it harder than anybody. The Patriots are always in pads and their practices are always as long as they’re legally allowed. We can’t blame it on that if another team has shown it to be successful over time," Orlovsky said. "I also believe that it has to be hard, because winning in November and December is hard and you have to be tested like that.

"There could be a bunch of reasons why the team lacks juice. Part of lacking juice is lacking big-time playmakers, big-time talent on both sides of the ball. That could be a part of it. Yes, they could be tired. There are so many different things as to why. I have no idea what training camp was like so I'm not blaming that. I’m just speaking as an ex-player that was observant, and going, 'This is Monday Night Football, the tops should be coming off of peoples’ heads.' And it just didn’t come across that way." 

Following Monday night's debacle versus the Jets, Patricia came under fire for having his team unprepared. Questions surfaced as to whether the former defensive coordinator is in too deep. On Wednesday he was asked if the job of being an NFL head coach is harder than he expected. He smiled and said, "No, this job is great."

Orlovsky, for his part, said it's too soon to determine whether or not Patricia is cut out for his new role. 

"I’m not going to sit here and say he looks over his head," said Orlovsky. "It’s very much a growing process for him as well. And from everything you read about him, how intelligent he is, you would imagine that he’s going to go back and fix some of the stuff or refine some of the stuff that he wants to do better for the team.

"But it’s one game. It was as bad of a game as you can have, no doubt, top to bottom, but the good thing is you got five days to regroup. The best thing that can happen to them is that it was Monday Night Football and you only have to wait five days to go out and play again and get that performance off the table hopefully." 

Orlovsky said the same thing for his friend and former teammate Matthew Stafford, who threw four interceptions Monday night in one of the worst games of his career. Stafford took the blame for the loss afterward

"That was uncharacteristic of Matthew. Matthew's done a phenomenal job in the last five or six years of valuing the football and realizing how important it is, and I had never seen him just not play up to his standards," Orlovsky said. "He’ll be the first person to tell you that was not who he is and that’s not who he’s going to be moving forward."

Stafford naturally was one of the focal points of fan frustration, but Orlovsky expects him to bounce back in a big way Sunday afternoon at the 49ers. 

"I understand (people saying), 'What was wrong with Matthew Stafford,' and, 'Oh my gosh, he played so bad.' I get that from so many people and fans. My social media’s been littered with it," Orlovsky said. "But Matthew Stafford’s the least of your worries moving forward -- the least of your worries. If I was somebody who played fantasy sports, I would take Matthew Stafford next week because I know what he’s made of and I know that he’s going to come back throwing haymakers. 

"He didn’t play well, he’ll be the first to tell you, and he’ll get it corrected."