Lions' Patricia defends grueling practice routine

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Lions coach Matt Patricia watches his team from the sideline in the first quarter during Friday's preseason game against the New York Giants.

Detroit — After another disappointing preseason showing, a 30-17 loss to the New York Giants, Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia faced questions about whether his grueling and physical practices were having a negative impact on his team’s performance.

Patricia said he didn’t feel conditioning has been an issue for the Lions — although he planned to confirm when he evaluated the tape from the Giants game — and defended the importance of the routine he’s implemented, which consisted of back-to-back weeks of joint practices and nearly every day in pads.

“Yeah, no, it’s football and we’re out there trying to get better every day,” Patricia said. “Really, to be honest with you, the practices are critically important. That’s where we’ve got to make improvements and get better.

"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. It’s important that we get those looks. That’s part of training camp. That’s how it’s supposed to be and that’s how you get better.”

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Patricia’s practices have been noticeably longer and more physical than the ones run by predecessor Jim Caldwell. That makes sense, given general manager Bob Quinn’s offseason criticism about his team’s toughness during the 2017 season. 

Not surprisingly, veterans who talked after the game uniformly had no issues with Patricia’s practices.

“You have to know how to manage your own time,” defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois said. “They put everything in that building for us to be successful. It’s up to you to take advantage of that.

“There’s no such thing as tired; you should not be tired for (any) reason. You have enough time to go home, you have enough time to go to sleep, you have enough time to go study, you have enough time to take care of your body. We have no excuses.”

The team will dial it back during the weekend, with a conditioning session on Saturday and a day off on Sunday before beginning preparation for next week’s preseason game against Tampa Bay on Friday.