The Detroit Lions head into their bye this week with a losing record at 2-3, which makes first-year head coach Matt Patricia know the time off is not time to relax for the coaches.
He told the media Monday that he and his coaching staff will spend this week analyzing game film and planning for the next game against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 21.
“I think for us, it’s a good opportunity for us to get healthy or kind of pull off a little bit from that aspect of it,” Patricia said. “But we have to get some things done through the course of the week. It’s a good mental week for us.”
The Lions are in good spirits with a 31-23 win over the Green Bay Packers last week. Patricia indicated the team had meetings Monday and will meet again Tuesday without practicing. The players will take the rest of the week off while the coaches keep working.
One area of concern that must be addresses is Detroit’s rushing defense that ranks last in the NFL. The Lions also have several starters afflicted by injuries, including right guard T.J. Lang (concussion), running back Kerryon Johnson (ankle) and defensive end Ziggy Ansah (shoulder).
“I think there’s a lot of things that we have to take a look at through the first course of the season here and like I had mentioned before, there’s a lot of plays that will repeat,” Patricia said. “It’s a copycat league, so the things that have hurt us so far in the season will come back up at some point here in the next set of weeks. And we have to make to make sure we have those handled.
“Some of things that have come up that maybe hurt us early in the season, we’ve done a good job of, and then there’s been some new plays that have kind of popped up that are either offensively some new defenses that we’re seeing or defensively some new offensive plays that have hurt us. And then definitely special teams also, just to try to improve all of that.”
The players are not totally off the hook from football concerns during their break.
Ricky Jean Francois, a defensive lineman, said he will be at his new home in Florida — of which he had not spent one night before this week — waiting for Patricia and the coaches to forward to his tablet “all the negative plays we had” thus far this season. The players are being asked to help diagnose the Lions’ problems during their break.
“It will be a case of, ‘Hey, we can get better at this. I think we can make an adjustment with this,'” Jean Francois said. “That’s the first step. Once we (do that), enjoy your bye week, enjoy your family, spend your time off, cause like I said, we’re coming back for 11 straight weeks to grind but right now make sure you still peek at football just don’t lose it all.”
–CB Jamal Agnew, an All-Pro returner, suffered what appeared to be a serious left knee injury late in Sunday’s win over the Packers. Patricia was asked if the injury has ended Agnew’s season. “I’m not going to speculate anything until I get information. I’m not a doctor,” he said. If Agnew is out for extended period of time, the Lions will use wide receivers TJ Jones and Brandon Powell and running back Ameer Abdullah to help in the return game.
–DE Ezekiel Ansah’s shoulder injury, making him miss four straight games, is causing controversy in Detroit. Some fans and media have suggested that he is “milking” the injury to preserve his body for his next contract. Lions coach Matt Patricia was asked about this perception on Monday during his weekly press conference. “Next question,” Patricia said. “Let’s talk about something real important here.”
–RB Kerryon Johnson had a 24-yard run to set up a touchdown Sunday against Green Bay, but he stepped awkwardly out of bounds after he was pushed. He limped off the field and his right ankle was attended to by trainers. He received new tape on the ankle but didn’t return.
–CB Teez Tabor left the Green Bay game with a groin injury and also didn’t return.
–RG T.J. Lang was ruled out Sunday against the Packers because of a concussion. He left the previous game against the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter. It is the second straight season Lang has suffered a concussion. The Pro Bowler worked through a back injury in the first few weeks of the season. He also had a foot injury during training camp.