Lions' Matt Patricia: "We Have To Start Seeing Some Production"

The Lions essentially have one more opportunity to prove they're ready for the season.

Will Burchfield
August 18, 2018 - 1:15 am

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Matt Patricia took a long time to make his way to the podium after his team's poor showing Friday night versus the Giants, so long that a couple reporters abandoned the wait and sought out the players instead. When he finally arrived, he still hadn't cooled off. Not completely. 

Patricia was looking for improvement from the Lions in Week 2 of the preseason -- what he saw was regression. He struck a stern tone when discussing a 30-17 loss that was more lopsided than the score might indicate. 

"Overall, definitely for me, we have to do a better job," Patricia said. "It starts with me. I have to do a better job coaching, we have to have these guys ready to go and we have to hopefully do a better job executing out on the field. That’s where we’re at, and obviously we have a lot of work to do.

"It’s the time of the preseason where have to get going and we have to see some of that consistency and we have to start seeing some production. We have a big job in front of us here." 

The Lions were outplayed by the Giants across the board, especially in regard to the starters. And this was a Giants team without its top three offensive players in Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley. 

Detroit's offensive line, which, to be fair, was missing T.J. Lang, was bullied throughout the game. That's supposed to be one of the team's strengths. Left tackle Taylor Decker had a particularly poor night, getting beat cleanly a couples times by Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon. Matthew Stafford was sacked twice -- and appeared to ding up his hand when he was pressured on another occasion -- in three drives. 

The Lions gained just 89 yards in the first half. 

Things weren't much better on defense. Any positivity that stemmed from a three-and-out on the first series was quickly wiped out by the 79-yard, 17-play touchdown drive that followed. The Giants converted three third downs, including a third-and-17 on their own 14-yard line, and one fourth down. It culminated in running back Wayne Gallman shaking Jarrad Davis at the line of scrimmage and catching a pass over the middle for an easy touchdown.

By the fourth quarter, the Giants were up 24-3.

Veteran defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois spoke firmly afterward about the need to improve. 

"There’s so much you can do within our building to do it, but we have to come together as a group. The coaches can talk until they’re blue in the face. We have to come together as a team, and we have to show Matt Patricia that we can master everything that he asks us to do, because if we don’t, it’s going to be a long season. And we aren’t trying to have no long season around here this year," he said. 

It particularly irked Jean-Francois that the Lions surrendered three rushing touchdowns, all of which went for at least 10 yards. One of them came on a naked bootleg by Giants third-string quarterback Kyle Lauletta. 

"We have to put our head down and come into work tomorrow, look over that tape and we have to correct. We have to, we have to," he said. "It’s a must. We need to correct that run. Each one of us, including myself. There were a few plays I missed out there myself. We have to stop the run.

"If you don’t stop the run, you have a lot of great NFL teams that have good running backs and O-lines that can just move that ball whenever they choose to."

If there were any bright spots for the Lions on Friday night, they came in the form of a 42-yard catch-and-run by Theo Riddick that set up Detroit's first score, the play of finger-wagging Darius Slay and some late flashes -- albeit in garbage time -- by backup quarterback Jake Rudock, who finished 23-30 for 171 yards and a touchdown. He also scored on a one-yard sneak. 

Slay offered tepid satisfaction when asked if the Lions moved forward in Friday night's game. 

“We are, but we’re only moving an inch. We aren’t moving at the pace we want to, but we’re getting there," he said. 

Patricia, meanwhile, passed on the opportunity to point out any positives. His frustration wouldn't let him. 

"I’m not overly pleased with anything at the current moment. Maybe in a couple days here when you ask that question I’ll find something out of the tape and we can go that way. But right now, again, it starts with me. We have to coach better, I have to coach better and we have to do a better job getting these guys ready to go," he said. 

Jean-Francois, for his part, pointed right back at the players. 

“They put everything in that building for us to be successful, it’s up to you to take advantage of that," he said. "There’s no such thing as tired. We should not be tired for no reason. You got enough time to go home, you got enough time to get sleep, you got enough time to study, you got time to take care of your body. There’s no excuses, we have no excuses.

"We have to come in tomorrow, we have to come together as a group, we have to look in the mirror at ourselves and we have to get this done right.”

With two preseason games remaining, the Lions essentially have one more opportunity to prove they're ready for the season: next Friday versus the Buccaneers. The starters will get considerable work, and they'll need to show considerable improvement. Otherwise, the frustration brewing at the moment will turn into legitimate concern.