Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia Quote Sheet

Opening statement: “Obviously pushing forward – it’s kind of a Friday in our world here right now, so getting ready for a good day of practice. Thought we had a good session yesterday with the meetings and everything, and then we need to get ready to go. We need to crank it up here out there today and go out and have a good tempo, a good practice – kind of run through all the different situations, the transitions of the game, and all that. Looking forward to that. I think from us, from a roster standpoint, Mike Daniels will not practice today and everybody else should be out there kind of in the same capacity as we go forward. I just got out of the defensive meetings. I know, because I’m probably sure someone is going to ask, T.J. (Hockenson) should be meeting with the doctors now. He’s going to be at practice, so I know that much as far as that’s all concerned. He’ll be out at practice just like he’s been. (We’ll) see how practice goes as far as that’s concerned, then we’ll figure out wherever we’re at with that stuff later. Obviously, we’ll put the injury report out later when we get done with practice, but everybody else should be out there, I think, from that status. Just going through a good Friday as we go forward.”
On changing the schedule of the walk-through and last practice this week: “We get the walk-through usually on Saturday, the day before the game. Friday practice for us – like in a normal week, we’ll go a little bit longer on Wednesdays if we’re in pads – try to get all our fundamental stuff and get kind of the midpoint of the two games, if you will, from that physical standpoint. We try to get a little bit of a quicker tempo, shorter practice on Thursday, and then Fridays are a pretty good run-through for us. We spend a pretty good amount of time working on – at this point, kind of all the instillation stuff is in, so we want to make sure we kind of recap all of that. Sometimes as you get toward Friday, Wednesday seems really far away, and so all that stuff that you put in on Wednesday you want to make sure you don’t forget. Just thought with the longer week coming off the bye (week), which is a little different for us from that standpoint, you don’t want to go too long without practices. You think about it – I think we practiced last Wednesday, so you want to get back out there in pads and equipment a week later. You don’t want to go too long with that. We knew we’d have the extra day, and I think sometimes, especially being four, five weeks into the season, you didn’t want to just kind of grind straight through and having that little bit of a break yesterday, I thought was good for everybody. We actually got some longer meetings, which gave us an opportunity to kind of get ahead from that standpoint, so that we can go out and really just run a good practice and practice at a good tempo within, really, 48-hours of the game. It’s actually a little bit more now because of the night game, and you don’t want to shut it down too soon and have your body – you want to keep that kind of muscle memory, that mentality up as you’re pushing toward the game and find that sweet spot when it starts.”
On how TE T.J. Hockenson is handling his concussion and concussion protocol:  “He’s been really great. I think with all rookies, and he’s a young player, you always try to tread those waters and really learn about the guy. The college mentality may be a little bit different because there are so many guys, and they just kind of go back out there. For us, as we get toward those active rosters, those 46 guys, there are a lot of conversations that need to go on because it affects other positions and things like that. When you’re learning about young players and injuries and how they handle them, especially with the concussion because it’s so kind of unpredictable from that standpoint, you really try to just be observant, be aware, see if there is anything different. I think just my own personal experience with those things, as you go through and you deal with players or when you’re playing or whether you’re coaching, you’re just trying to look for smalls subtleties. There might be situations where a guy looks good, he feels OK and all that stuff, but maybe you, as a coach or you as a friend or you as a teammate, start to see something that maybe is just a little bit different. You just try to be really aware. We’re always trying to do what’s best for the player and keep everybody protected. Thankfully we have a great protocol that I think all the teams are using really well right now to kind of keep a gauge of that stuff, but you just want to make sure they are OK. The other part that is unpredictable is that sometimes things may be fine, and then they may come up like two or three days later. It’s just so kind of uncharted territory. For a guy like T.J., to kind of go back to the question, is just really just trying to be observant with him as we learn him as a young guy, but he has been – he loves football. He’s all in on football, you know what I mean. He’s just one of those kids that just absolutely loves the game, loves to play, and you appreciate that. Sometimes with those guys you have to really – sometimes they’re young guys, sometimes they’re older guys. You have to almost protect them from themselves at some point, and just make sure that they’re OK because that is the most important thing.”
On if there is day-to-day follow up after concussion protocol is complete: “Once the doctors finally get through it, maybe we’re a little bit extra cautious as coaches. I think it’s always a good philosophy of ours, even in-game to be honest with you. There are all the protocols and all that stuff, but even in-game if something happens I’ll always make sure as a coach you go grab your player, or as a head coach, and ask them something relevant to the game, game plan, something from the week that we practiced, something that is going to be a little bit more advanced than maybe what a general question would be to a particular guy. For me, I think that’s really important. I’ve had situations before in the past where a guy’s like, ‘Hey, I think he’s OK,’ and then I talk to him and I’m like, ‘I don’t think this guy’s OK,’ and I’m going to put somebody else in there. Just because, (we’re) trying to protect those guys, trying to protect them, like I said, sometimes from themselves.”
On if he addressed hurdling defenders with the players: “I think they got a pretty good point of that last week, in general. We’ll see. We’ll see when the game hits. Sometimes those guys are trying to do the right things. I think we all understand the dangers with some of that stuff. I do understand their point of it, too, with some of the lower body risk situations that they’re in right now, currently. They’re trying to protect themselves from that, too. I do understand all of that, and I’m not out there playing. I’m not in that situation. I can’t really do that. Again, continual education of understanding the injuries and the risks and all of that stuff is what’s really most important, whatever it is. I think in that particular case, they saw that last week.”
On how they determine when to hurdle a defender or not: “There are a lot of examples of it through the course of the weekend in the NFL. Even in college, too, if you can grab some of that film and track that. (You) just try to show them, ‘Hey, if you’re setting something up, and you think you see this, and then it’s a calculated risk at that point that is really good.’ I think some of the last-minute decisions on those where you’re kind of reactionary are definitely where your body is protecting itself. You’ll see some of that sometimes. I think understanding where you are – if you’re inside, if you’re outside, grass versus turf is different. I think also situations where certainly sometimes you have to learn how to fall. It kind of sounds silly, but sometimes that’s what you have to do. You have to learn to protect yourself as you go down. It’s really hard to kind of pinpoint it and give them a concrete like, ‘This is the answer,’ because it’s not. Everything is reactionary from that standpoint. Everybody is a little bit different. There are a lot of low shots where those guys are trying to protect themselves from some of that stuff. Certainly, from me, from my standpoint as a head coach, I’m also trying to coach the other side of that. This is why we don’t want to do that. This is why we don’t want to go low. The heads are down here. We have to keep the heads up. We have to see what we hit. We have to be protected. We want to be in a safe hitting position on the football field. I think it’s for us, a way to coach, and we’re always trying to coach safety. Those examples – you can really identify both sides of it, and really coach it hard just to get them to understand why. Why you don’t want to do this or why this position is dangerous. That’s the most important thing because again like I said, injuries are never good. But as a coach when you have to go walk out on that field and try to see what’s going on, no one wants to be there.”
On if he handles practice participation differently with 12 straight games upcoming: “I think as a head coach I definitely try to take a look at that overall structure of everything as we go forward. Sometimes the position coaches – and I was in the same situation – you’re just trying to coach and get going. What I’ll try to do, and you do a little before the season – the same thing like what we did in training camp – I kind of marked some areas in training camp where I thought I could give guys rest. The bye week was kind of interesting how it fell this year with the first four games. We look at the season in quarters. It’s just kind of how you look at it. It’s easy that way. We’re going to look at the next four games, the next quarter of the season. The interesting part of it for us, which is awesome and wonderful, is that we also know we have the Thanksgiving (game on) Thursday. We try to target another date in there where potentially we can get some extra rest. Also, knowing that – again, a little bit different with the Monday Night game and then the Thursday game – what those weeks of practice are going to look like from a structure standpoint and a stress standpoint. Mentally, they’re going to be very taxing, but obviously physically, we need to recover and get ready for the next week coming off of a Monday Night game or getting ready for a Thursday game. There are kind of a couple of little breaks in there physically, that we can kind of count on. I think in general if guys are dinged up – because again, they’re playing an NFL football season right now – they’re going to have some of those injuries. You try to monitor it on an individual basis and also maybe even by a team, period, individual, just segmented by practice. Portions in practice like, ‘Hey this is really good. Let’s pull off here. Let’s go back there.’ Just making sure that they’re getting the looks that they need to see.”
On having the most opponent kick returns in the NFL, and his confidence in covering them: “I would definitely say the second part of what you just said is critically important for us in those situations. If we weigh the returner versus the rest of the situation of the game, those are sometimes things that we take a look at as when we either want to bang it through the endzone or try to put it in a difficult position to handle. Sometimes even just ball security, ball handling, things like that, if we’re trying to put guys in tough situations – if we’re outside, if we’re inside. The start of the Philly game if you were kind of looking at it, the sun was a little bit of an issue, too. With those situations and some of those things factor into it – lights sometimes can factor into it. You try to put all of that in there and for us, we just maintain the mentality of practicing our coverage units and making sure we’re ready to go. We’ve certainly seen teams this year, where even if you’re trying to bang it through the endzone, those guys are grabbing them deep and they’re trying to bring them out. We just always have to be ready for that. If we feel comfortable that that’s part of the game that will be good for us, then we’ll try to do that.”
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