Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia at work every day
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK — Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia showed up for work a day after his free-falling team lost again in front of an apathetic home crowd.
“I just expect to be here every day until they tell me not to,” Patricia said Monday. “Hopefully, that’ll be a long time.”
That decision will be made by team owner Martha Firestone Ford, who was seen on the Ford Field turf talking to her embattled coach before Tampa Bay beat Detroit 38-17.
Patricia, who is 9-20-1 as an NFL head coach, refused to say if he has been told whether he’ll be back to lead the team for a third season in 2020.
“I like to keep all of that stuff private as I think it’s important to do,” he said.
The Lions (3-10-1) have lost seven in a row — for the first time in seven years — and 10 of 11 under Patricia.
Defensive end Trey Flowers, who played for Patricia when he was the defensive coordinator in New England, said Patricia is getting too much blame for the team’s slump.
“He’s not on the field,” Flowers said. “He prepares us the best he can and then it’s up to the players.”
Players show up at the training facility early and leave late, but Patricia is there before them and stays even longer hoping to figure out what he can do to help the team win — and keep his job.
“It’s most of the reason why I don’t leave the building because they’re going to have to throw me out,” he joked.
The Lions do not seem to be giving up on Patricia or their teammates. Detroit fell behind the Buccaneers 21-0 and instead of packing it in for the day, the banged-up team had the ball late in the game down by just seven points.
Detroit’s previous six setbacks were by four, three, eight, seven and seven points.
“We obviously have a long way to go and we have some things that we have to fix,” Patricia said. “But at least the team itself cares about each other and that’s something.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The Lions almost abandoned their awful running game, handing off the ball a season-low 18 times against Tampa Bay. Detroit had a season-low 45 yards rushing Sunday, a third straight game with a declining total on the ground.