By Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Matt Patricia’s practices at the helm of the Detroit Lions are a bit different than Jim Caldwell’s. After watching five of them throughout the course of the spring, there’s no doubt about that.
Patricia’s practices, at least by feel, lasted longer. They also seemed to have less full-team work involved than 7-on-7 periods and individual position group time intermixed with special teams. Considering the tree he comes from (Bill Belichick and, by extension, Bill Parcells), that should come as no surprise.
The Lions – like the Patriots before – did a good bit of running concluding practices, either with gassers or jogging. Patricia also used running as an admonishment tool – something I never remember Caldwell doing in his four years in Detroit. Not saying one is better than the other, but it’s just different.
“It’s just practice,” Patricia said. “So I’m not sure what was done before, but we’re just trying to practice.”
There seemed, throughout the five open practices, to be a premium spent on taking correct angles for both ball-carriers and would-be tacklers. A lot of special teams work. And not nearly as much rotation in first-team units – at least when the first-teamers were there – throughout those days.
There has been adjustment for Patricia, too, during his first spring as Detroit’s head coach.
“Everything is new, everything is different. You know, you can always prepare for how much you’re not, you get divided in a couple different ways from what needs to be done from a team standpoint,” Patricia said. “You’d love to be involved more with every minute of football, but you just can’t. The requirements are different. So, that’s kind of the biggest adjustment from that standpoint.
“What’s good is that I can go in at the end, at the end of the day, or in the middle of the meeting or in the morning and kind of just make changes and I don’t really have to worry about it.”
How much he has adjusted is still an unknown and could be more evident once training camp starts.