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Matt Patricia Gave a 900-Word Explanation for Why He Held Practice in the Snow

SourceThose wanting a little more fire out of Matt Patricia just got their wish.

The Detroit Lions coach opened his press conference Friday with an 891-word written statement explaining the nuances of why the team practiced outdoors Thursday, even though it was snowing, and even though they play nothing but indoor and warm-weather games for the next month. That includes Sunday’s game against visiting Carolina. …

“In regards to practice, all right, a couple comments I want to make on this topic, and provide some maybe insight on what’s called closure to this continued conversation that we have here as far as our training. …

“The downside of practicing indoors on the turf is the wear and effect that it has on the bigger-bodied players on our team. 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.

“Yesterday was a good opportunity for us to go outside, be able to practice and work on our fundamentals, from the standpoint of we 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. …

“There’s no more discussion, no more conversation about it. … We’re going to be practicing inside today, just so everybody is clear. All right? Make sure everybody is good with all the head coaches in the room on that. Everybody good there?”

Um … wut?

For the life of me, I don’t know what to make of this. I might have just pulled about 300 works out of what is an almost 900 word prepared statement that reads like something the White House would have the Press Secretary read to outline a bill on healthcare or something. It goes on and on in detail about the thought process behind a football team having a practice in the elements. Talk of footwork and safety, technical soundness and fundamentals and swollen joints.

It’s bananas. I can’t figure out if this is Matt Patricia’s way of being open and honest with the press, showing a willingness to discuss his thought processes on every decision. Or whether he’s simply fucking with them. Doing the Col. Jessup “You want answers? I’ll give ya answers!” thing and then giving them way more answers than they bargained for.

I can only hazard a guess, but I’d have to say it’s the latter. Keep in mind, this roomful of Detroit media includes some of the same guys who were bitching on behalf of the players when Patricia had the audacity to make guys run as punishment at OTAs:

 That’s not likely to endear him to his players, many of who whom are experienced professionals who don’t need or care to be treated like junior varsity tryout players. …

Patricia’s tactic smacked of amateurism and even though it was generally downplayed as an innocuous slap on the wrist, I can guarantee you most players don’t care for it.

For one, it’s insulting at this level.

For another, it’s a waste of time.

That was five months ago. And I’m just going to assume that the Lions starting the season 3-6 hasn’t curbed the buttinski-ism from these Mr. Know-it-Alls even a little bit. That little dig at the end about “all the head coaches in the room” is such a shot across their bow that must be it.

If that’s the case, fine. I just can’t wrap my brain around the heavy-handed explanation. Because once you’re explaining yourself, you’ve already lost the argument. Why go into detail about something you owe nobody an explanation for? At least not an explanation that’s more than about a dozen words long. Why practice out in the elements? “Because it’s football and this is November.” Wouldn’t you be better off indoors? “No. High school teams and Pop Warner teams are practicing outside. Why not us?” Plus it’s a little hard to say you’re not going to have a discussion about something while having a long, carefully worded discussion about it.

I’m also going to assume the whole process is about weeding out the weak ones on the Lions roster. The ones who have been there throughout the culture of losing, when running laps is considered a Human Rights violation and there are members of the press who’ll go to bat for the players if their coach does coach things. That’s why you go out in the snow in shorts and sneakers, to send a message that if it’s too cold for you to run around in full gear, this isn’t the place for you. Force the weak ones to quit and all that will be left are the strong and motivated, like they do it in the military.

I just hope for Patricia’s sake, he’s still there by the time there’s snow on the ground next year.