Allen Park — Change is rarely easy, and the Detroit Lions clearly struggled with adapting to coach Matt Patricia's style and expectations during his first year with the franchise.
But as the team begins this year's offseason program, having a better understanding of both the scheme and Patricia's demands has the players confident smoother sailing is ahead.
"I think that there’s really not a lot of gray area in that sort of situation," center Graham Glasgow said. "I think that the expectations are known, the expectations are set and I think that it’s up to us as players to meet those expectations to take the coaching and make sure that we can kind of take the team to the next level."
As for the schematic shift, the biggest changes came on defense. The Lions started slow, giving up 78 points in the first two games and failing to hold an opponent under 4.2 yards per carry the first eight contests.
Things improved down the stretch, buoyed by the midseason addition of premier run-stuffing defensive tackle Damon Harrison, and that confidence in the foundation is something to build upon heading into 2019.
"I think it allows us to progress faster, kind of being able to see around corners and know what’s coming up and know what’s expected for us to know each phase of this offseason program," linebacker Jarrad Davis said. "I know what was on the surface and to continue to go deeper into what everything entails, I’m just really excited. I think we can take another step as a defense. Honestly, I can take another step as a player. I’m really excited to push myself so I can help push the guys around me so we can all become a better unit."
Davis also emphasized the importance of players taking ownership, since interaction with coaches is highly limited at this stage of the year. The linebacker and captain said that can start by taking this time of year to bond with teammates away from the practice facility.
"We can take it into our own hands now," Davis said. "It’s not mandated by the coaches, but at the same time, we can take a step forward, get together, maybe go out to dinner or hang out at each other’s houses and just talk football a little bit and get to know each other off the field, (talk) about what our jobs entail so we can all be more a unit and be more in unison on the field at one time."