Matt Patricia of the Lions adapts to the new reality, causing challenges during the pandemic


Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia was in the middle of his second full offseason team meeting on Monday when the reality of distance learning emerged and plunged him into a mini panic.

“We had a little technological incident, I’ll call it,” said Patricia. “The call dropped and people lost WiFi, and you instantly go into panic mode, like” Now what? How can we get 100 people on a call? “

“In less than two minutes, everyone was back. So I thought it was pretty awesome. “

It’s just part of the overall change that Lions – like many NFL teams – have had to make this off-season. During his first full team meeting, he scanned four pages of faces just to see all of his players for the first time in months. For their allocated daily hours, Patricia chose classroom work because she has two new coordinators – defensive coordinator Cory Undlin and task team coordinator Brayden Coombs – and at a time that is generally devoted to learning and the installation anyway, it allowed them to really teach.

The decision to go with classroom learning also forced a change in the team’s plan for strength and conditioning. Instead of keeping players on similar plans and schedules, the Lions had to choose custom plans for each player, developed by new strength and fitness trainer Josh Schuler.

They started by investigating each player to see what they were doing and what they weren’t available, which turned out to be a challenge.

“Some of our guys were trapped in apartments in the middle of New York, Manhattan, and they couldn’t go anywhere,” said Patricia. “It’s a completely different situation from someone who could be in the middle of Arizona and he has a lot of space or a situation where he has a gym down the street where he can go to 6 am when no one is there and has all the equipment available.

“So we tried to get through and measure everyone’s situation and also to mark what you need. ‘

In some cases, this meant shipping kettlebells, benches, and dumbbells across the country. Other players said they were all ready and had full gymnasiums available to them. It was a constant adjustment.

For example, Patricia saw the video of midfielder Ty Johnson pulling a Jeep last weekend and cracked, “I’m just glad he has a helmet. “

It has also changed what some players focus on when training. If they have limited equipment, they may be able to focus more on one part of the body and try to make sure that the others are more worked in terms of stability. Lions have also created workouts through apps they can follow to see which players are doing which workouts and then suggesting a different workout on a different day.

“Very individual,” said Patricia. “I don’t mean based on a personal trainer, but almost in a sense that everyone’s situation is different, so this has been the biggest challenge – the part of bodybuilding. “

As with many coaches and players, the situation has given Patricia the opportunity to spend more time with her children. Patricia admitted on Monday that the thing with which he had the most difficulty in his career was being away from his family, calling it “the most difficult thing for me.”

It was something he appreciated more, because at this time of year he would not be as much at home as he had been. Now he sees his family everyday and can work while they are across the room on iPads.

When he was able to be away from work, the Michael Jordan fan recorded the ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” for a gigantic watch. He also started playing the ukulele.

Patricia did not play the instrument during the media session and made a joke describing the number of songs he knows – “I can call them songs, you can call them pop. “

When he hasn’t, he spends time playing Barbies with his daughter Giamina.

“When my 4 year old daughter asks me to play,” said Patricia, “it is really hard to refuse that. “


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