It’s a well-documented fact that the Bill Belichick coaching tree is more like a twig.
Former Belichick assistants tend to struggle as NFL head coaches.
To start with, they don’t have the advantage of having Tom Brady, and they also are too steeped in the self-proclaimed “Patriot Way,” which doesn’t work too well without Brady.
The latest example is Matt Patricia, the guy who was noted in New England for his beard and red pullover.
Patricia was hired by the Detroit Lions to take the team to the next step after they went 9-7 the past two years under Jim Caldwell, who was fired at the end of last season.
Patricia has changed things, all right — he’s made them worse. The Lions are now 3-6.
And not surprisingly for a coach who worked for Belchick, he has no idea how to handle the press conferences that are part of the job.
Last month, he told a reporter to stop slouching when he asked questions.
This week, he was upset at a question about why he practiced outdoors in the snow with the team having four consecutive games in a dome, including the next three at home.
Patricia could have said it is harder on the joints to practice indoors on the turf and that the players get better practice on their footwork practicing outside. And left it at that.
Instead, he looked defensive by starting his next press conference with an 891-word statement that reporter Kyle Meinke posted on Twitter. Patricia has frustrated fans by not being more open, but this time he overreacted.
When Patricia is fired, that statement will be his legacy.
The statement included this sentence:
“The downside of practicing indoors on the turf is the wear and effect that it has on the bigger-bodied players on our team,’’ he said. “Standing on turf, or running on turf, for extended periods of time, affects joints. It affects swelling. And it really causes the body in different members of our team to have pain or joint swelling that will then cause them further delay in preparing for the game. Practicing outside has multiple benefits, provides different elements for us to prepare in and work through in the grand overall preparation of our team.’’
He also wanted to practice in pads.
“Practicing in pads on turf is a little bit of an extra risk, in my mind, in some of those situations where feet or footwork might be stuck in turf in different situations, whereas the grass or the natural ground has a little bit more give. In those situations, it was safer for us to go outside in pads and practice in an opportunity where we could work on our fundamentals in what I thought would be a safer manner – which is true.”
He also said going outside, “focuses most of the skill players to have to keep their feet underneath them, be able to break with a low center of gravity and play technically sound, which is always good from a fundamental standpoint.”
There’s much more, but you can read all 891 words at Meinke’s Twitter handle @kmeinke.
Patricia also made a snide reference to the writers, referring to “all the head coaches in the room.”
And he said, “There is no more discussion, no more conversation about it. I’d like to move on and show a little more respect to Carolina.”
This statement should be required reading for any owner thinking of hiring a Belichick assistant.
It also shows how fortunate the Indianapolis Colts were that Josh McDaniel pulled out after accepting the job.
The only question now is whether Patricia will get a second year. He may be a good assistant — although it’s hard to tell, since Belichick runs the show in New England – but Patricia is not qualified to be a head coach.