Fans and analysts can be a bit rude at times when discussing the dismissal of a coach. Some fans will celebrate the firing of an ineffective coach for understandable reasons, but the personal side of things is often overlooked. A person has just lost their job, a family publicly humiliated and often children are displaced from school and new friends. Of course, that comes with the territory of being and coaching the NFL, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
It’s not easy for some of the coaches in this building either. And whether loved or hated by some former players, former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia made friends on the coaching staff, and you could feel their feelings of loss on Tuesday. during their first Zoom session since the property moved.
Defensive coordinator Cory Undlin had a shared history with Patricia from their overlapping days at Foxborough. On Tuesday, Undlin called Patricia “one of my closest friends on the planet, leading and staff. And seeing him fail and get fired after specifically asking for his help, well, that sucks.
“I think you could probably imagine if one of your friends calls you and asks you to come and help you, then you came and you helped and it didn’t work… it’s not a good situation in which one to be, ”Undlin said.
For special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs, Patricia meant something different. He wasn’t a longtime friend that he couldn’t save from dismissal, he was the first coach to give him a real opportunity in this league as a coordinator.
“Personally, I’m just disappointed and hurt for Matt,” Coombs admitted. “For me, he’s the first guy who really believed in me to be a coordinator. Gave me my first chance. So on a personal level, I am eternally grateful to him and I am indebted to him.
And while the product in the field was far from where it needed to be, Coombs believed it wasn’t due to Patricia’s lack of testing. And based on his personal experiences, he hasn’t seen the same Matt Patricia who may have stepped out of his public personality due to tiffs with the media or stories from former players.
“Whatever public perception or whatever, Matt Patricia is probably one of the most selfless people I know,” Coombs said. “All he was interested in since coming here was the Detroit Lions. Do everything possible to bring as much success to this team as possible. Obviously it didn’t work out that way, but I have a lot of respect for the way he thought he was doing things the way we did.
Obviously, Coombs and Undlin know that this is all part of the business. They’ve experienced it themselves, and it’s their job to now focus on the last five games of the season as they try to craft their own CVs for whatever the uncertain future brings them.
“We all know what this business entails and that is if you don’t play well and produce you lose your job,” Undlin said. “I think in the grand scheme of things we both understand that. Obviously, I feel bad about the situation, but it is now, and we have to move forward. There is no other option. ”