Glover Quin On Report Of Veteran Unrest: "It's Tougher, Different" Under Patricia

Unrest is inevitable in an NFL locker room, Quin said.

Will Burchfield
September 12, 2018 - 7:53 pm

© Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports


Glover Quin saw the report from NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. He wasn't necessarily surprised by it. 

Is it concerning that certain veterans on the Lions are already unhappy with Matt Patricia, particularly with how hard he worked them in training camp and with how many new rules he's instituted? Well, said Quin, a 10-year vet, it's the nature of the beast. Dissent is inevitable in a 53-man locker room. 

"There’s a lot of guys in here, man. There's no way that everybody’s going to be completely happy. That’s never been the case. Even schedules that we’ve had in the past, there’s always complaints. That’s just part of human nature. I don’t know who they’re talking to -- ask NFL Network who they’re talking to. Like I said, there’s always going to be differences and people are always going to have things to say. Our job is to focus on playing football and trying to win games," Quin said. 

Patricia ran a rigorous training camp in his first season as a head coach, far more rigorous than Jim Caldwell ever ran during his four-year tenure in Detroit. Caldwell didn't have the Lions put on pads and start hitting until the start of the preseason. Patricia had his players doing the Oklahoma drill within the first week. He also ran them frequently, particularly in a punitive manner. Mistakes often resulted in players -- or entire units -- running laps around the field. 

As for Patricia's new rules, Quin naturally wouldn't comment. ("Ask Coach Patricia for a list," he quipped.) But it's worth noting that the ping-pong table and the cornhole bags that lived in the locker room throughout Caldwell's tenure have been removed. There's a more Spartan feel to the order of business in Allen Park. 

"Is it different? Yes, it is," said Quin. "You have different leadership, so you’re going to do things differently. Is it tough? Yes, it is. I’m not going to lie and say it’s not. You have to go to work and do your job and be able to adjust."

For players who arrived in Detroit this year, that adjustment might not be such a challenge. For the guys who were here under Caldwell, it may well take some time.

"Players that were here previously, I’m pretty sure a lot of them are like, yeah, this is tougher, this is different," said Quin. "But that’s always expected when you have a new coach. It’s just the way it is. The personalities are completely different, so obviously the way things are brought about is going to be completely different. It’s just a part of it. It happens, every team, and you just deal with it. Your job is to go out and play football." 

Take Caldwell's first year, said Quin. Though his practices were generally shorter than those of previous head coach Jim Schwartz, they were heavier on running. Players had to adjust to a new tempo and a new way of doing things. In time they did. 

Of course, Caldwell was a player's coach. He rarely rubbed his guys the wrong way. They were willing to go to battle for him on Sunday, and in doing so likely made up for his shortcomings as a game manager. Patricia is reputed to be a more advanced tactician, but it appears he's at risk of alienating some of his players. It doesn't help that the Lions got flattened in their first game. 

Asked if it's harder for a coach to get his players to buy in when the results aren't there, Quin said, "We’ve only played one game, man. If this was Week 10 and it wasn’t looking good, yeah, it might be a little harder, bro. But we’ve played one game," said Quin. 

Patricia's coaching style comes straight from New England, where for years Bill Belichick has pushed his players to the limit. It's a no-frills, all-business operation. And it works. The challenge for Patricia will be maintaining the faith of the locker room if the Lions don't start winning. Their upcoming opponents won't make that any easier: at San Francisco, home versus New England, at Dallas, home versus Green Bay. 

"Everything is better when you’re winning," said Quin. "When you’re winning it’s hard to complain -- you’re winning, so whatever you’re doing must be working." 

He added, "We didn’t play particularly well in the preseason, we didn’t play well on Monday night. Nationally televised game, everybody saw it, so immediately reports start to come out." 

Matthew Stafford, like Quin, has played under three coaches in Detroit. He described Patricia on Wednesday as a "fiery, competitive, aggressive guy that is going to do everything he can to help us try and be successful."

Asked how players have responded to the rookie head coach, Stafford said, "I think good. ... I’ve been here with Schwartz and Coach Caldwell and now with Coach Patricia. Every single one of them had their own unique style. It’s something that you learn the ins and outs of those people as they’re learning the ins and outs of us, so it’s a relationship. It’s not one-sided. We’re doing everything we can to play as good of football as we can." 

Patricia's style may not be for everyone, but Stafford, for one, is interested in anything that can make the team better. If that means more running in practice or longer days at the facility (or no ping-pong), so be it. 

"I mean, for me, I appreciate it. I understand that we’re doing everything we can to try and win. You can’t let any kind of message get lost in the delivery of anything. That was the same way with previous coaches that I’ve had, one side or the other. So, it’s not something I’m too concerned with to tell you the truth. Just trying to go out there and play better.”

Patricia has naturally come under fire in the wake of the Lions' embarrassing opening-night loss. It's been suggested he's in over his head. He wouldn't be the first disciple of Belichick to fail as a head coach. Asked on Wednesday if the job is harder than he expected, Patricia smiled. 

“No, this job is great," he said. "I’m very blessed to be in this job. I think everything is good. Coming to work every day we all have different challenges that we face when we go into it, and that’s the fun part about it. Football is a great sport. I certainly enjoy what I do every single day. Again, really nothing there to talk about. I love this game.”

Patricia said on Tuesday there's no issue "whatsoever" in regard to his players buying into his methods of coaching. He sees them every day, he said, and has been nothing but pleased with their level of engagement.

"We talk football and we go through philosophy and things that we have to look at and things that we have to improve on. I would say the football conversation is outstanding. I think these guys are really learning to see the game in a bigger picture and from a standpoint that opens up some different awareness. I think they have some great ideas with things that they see as players, which helps me as a coach. That’s kind of that mutual relationship back and forth that I think is outstanding," Patricia. 

If there's unrest in the Lions locker room, that's to be expected. Change can rub people the wrong way, especially when it doesn't yield positive results.

Quin put it simply: "I don’t think anybody’s happy right now. We got beat pretty good on Monday night, so we’re trying to focus on winning so we can be happier."