Lions coach Matt Patricia said he treats every practice like it's being filmed, which is why it's important to focus on fundamentals, not scheme. Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions, like most NFL teams, have a strict policy about what media members can report from open practices. Revealing specific play calls, formations and anything related to strategy is strictly prohibited.
Taking of photos and video also is limited to a brief window early in practice, while photographers are asked to keep their shots tight, again, to prevent any insight on formations.
Yet, practices are open to the public. And while there are similar requests made to those attending, it's almost impossible to control, with multiple social media platforms providing avenues to instantly share information, including visuals.
In a league where information is hoarded and there's a premium placed on secrecy, it's easy to wonder whether opponents send incognito scouts to these open practices, just to get a leg up on early-season game plans.
Lions coach Matt Patricia said he's not aware of any league rules that prohibit it, but he and his staff operate under the assumption that everything they're doing during these open practices can end up as public information.
"It’s interesting to me," Patricia said. "Right now, with as much social media, cell phones, and cameras and all that stuff that’s everywhere, I just pretty much assume everything is always out there. It’s always filmed, it’s always taped. It’s interesting to me some of the things that I can find out there that are maybe on display. We know that ahead of time. We are very careful with some of the stuff we show out there in some instances.
"Look, sometimes it might just be a philosophy or a core concept that we want to get in. and understanding that if we put it out there we’re probably going to have to change something about it. We still need to practice the timing of the play or the concept of what we’re trying to do. We still have to work. We still have to get some stuff done and make sure that we’re moving in the right direction."
Patricia's concerns also are mitigated by his belief that the team's schemes are fluid, and what someone might see in early August won't be anything like what the team is running come mid-season.
"I would say that’s why it’s the safest for us to just really concentrate on the fundamentals, the technique," he said. "Nobody knows what the scheme is going to look like in September, and whatever it looks like in September scheme-wise, it's going to be different in November. It’s really just about the players themselves, developing the players, developing the coaches, getting that groundwork done, the foundation, the fundamentals, so we can build from there."