The Detroit Lions‘ nightmare season opener may be linked to first-year Head Coach Matt Patricia‘s coaching methods during training camp.

Lions Players dislike Coach Matt Patricia’s Rules

The Lions were blown out Monday night after a 48-17 loss in their season opener against the New York Jets. As the Lions rally to take on the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday, concerns of fatigue and overregulation have poured out of the Lion’s locker room.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo revealed that some veteran players were upset with Patricia methods during training camp, claiming that they were being overworked and that there were too many team rules.

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“When you don’t have the results, and when they’re as bad as they were [Sunday night], you leave yourself very little leeway as a head coach,” Garafolo said. “Your guys are going to say, ‘Wait a minute, we’re being run harder than other teams; we’ve got more rules than other teams, and we aren’t getting the results?”

The Lions’ performance matched the veteran’s claims. Detroit’s special teams missed two field goals and Matt Stafford threw four interceptions — just one shy of his career high. Also the defense was unable to stop Sam Darnold — the youngest quarterback to start a season opener since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger — from going 16-of-21 for 198 yards and two touchdowns.

In terms of points allowed, it was the worst head-coaching debut in modern franchise history as the 48 points surrendered under Patricia supplanted Bo McMillin’s 44-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in 1948. As far as point differential, the 31-point margin was the widest for the Lions since a 45-0 loss at Washington in the 1991 opener.


Questions regarding the intensity of the Lion’s training camp had surfaced during the preseason, though Patricia made it clear that his methods would create tougher, better-conditioned players for the regular season.

“No,” Patricia told when asked during the preseason if players were fatigued. “It’s football. We’re out there trying to get better every day. And really, to be honest with you, the practices are critically important. That’s where we have to make improvements and get better. And we’re going to be able to do some things in practice that we can’t do in a game and look at some different areas.

Players noted that the drills were more physical than they were under previous head coach Jim Caldwell, which may or may not have had an adverse effect on the team’s overall performance. The pressure is on for the former New England defensive coordinator as he gears up to face former Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco this week, and play host to the Pats in Week 3.


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