LIONS HEAD COACH MATT PATRICIA INTRODUCTORY PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTE SHEETS
Allen Park, Mich. - The following are quote sheets featuring excerpts from today's introductory press conference for Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia. LIONS PRESIDENT ROD WOOD Opening Statement: “All right, good afternoon. On behalf of Mrs. Ford and her entire family I’d like to extend a welcome to all the members of the press who are here today and to Lions fans everywhere who are watching us. I firmly believe this is an incredible day in the history of the Detroit Lions. As Bob (Quinn) said during his press conference, we announced our coaching change and the beginning of a coaching search. Our goal is to win and to compete for championships. I believe that we are taking the next step in meeting those expectations today by introducing Matt Patricia as the next head coach of the Detroit Lions. I would like to welcome Matt, his wife, Raina and their entire family to Detroit. We’re thrilled to have you here. Before I introduce Bob, I would like to say a few words about our coaching search. As Bob promised, it was a thorough process. I want to congratulate Bob on being incredibly prepared in identifying a great list of candidates for us to meet with and for preparing a detailed list of questions that we asked every candidate. It became clear to both of us as we concluded this process that we wanted Matt Patricia to be our next head coach. And now I’d like to introduce our general manager Bob Quinn, who will introduce Matt. Thank you.” LIONS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER BOB QUINN Opening Statement: “Thanks for being here. Thank you to Mrs. (Martha) Ford and her family for their leadership and guidance through this process and their belief in me for picking our next new Head Coach. Thanks to Rod (Wood) for his assistance during the process, you know Rod was next to me every step of the way and he was a great resource for me during the last four or five weeks. We met with several strong candidates during the process and we were impressed with each and every one of them. Matt (Patricia) separated himself in our mind from the others in our two meetings with him. We met with Matt during the Patriots first bye weekend before the divisional round in Massachusetts and then again in their Super Bowl bye week again in Massachusetts. Few comments about Matt, Matt’s been an integral part of a very successful NFL organization for the last 14 seasons. During his time in New England, he coached on both sides of the ball, starting off as an offensive assistant, then assistant offensive line, and then moving over to defense. Coached the linebackers for five years, safeties for one year, and then defensive coordinator since 2012. I’ve known Matt since he came to the Patriots in 2004, you know in fact we sat next to each other in a lot of team meetings in New England for many of our years together. We also spent a great deal of time together on the road scouting college prospects, traveling around the country trying to find new players for the Patriots when we worked together there. When we set out, we had a list of qualities that we wanted to make sure the new head coach had and those were integrity, leadership, intelligence, work ethic, and being innovative in all aspects of the football operation. After our initial meeting with Matt, it was clear that he fit those qualities. You know, I feel very confident that Matt is the right head coach for the Detroit Lions. Before I introduce Matt, I want to take a minute to recognize: his wife, Raina; his sons, Dominic and Dante; and his daughter, Gia. Matt’s parents, Ed and Lucy, welcome. And Raina’s parents, Ray and Elaine, welcome. It’s my sincere pleasure to welcome and introduce the head coach of the Detroit Lions, Matt Patricia.” LIONS HEAD COACH MATT PATRICIA INTRODUCTORY PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTE SHEET Opening Statement: “I just have a couple opening remarks. I just want to obviously thank some people and kind of tell everybody a little bit about myself. I want to thank everyone for being here today. Really, this is a dream come true for me. I believe that having the opportunity to be the head coach of an NFL team is a very rare and special gift. And I’m honored and grateful to be named the head coach of the Detroit Lions. This position carries great responsibility and I take that responsibility very seriously, and I’m going to do everything I can to lead this organization in the right way. My goal is to help this organization, this fanbase and this city to make it proud. I will work tirelessly to build a team that everyone around here can be proud of, both on and off the field. I’d like to start off by thanking Mrs. (Martha) Ford and her family. Thank you so much for being so welcoming through this process, obviously today. Rod Wood, Bob Quinn, thank you guys very much for believing in me and trusting me to be the head coach of this franchise. I’m really very excited and honored to be here. Just a quick mention and thanks to Jimmy Sexton for all your hard work behind the scenes. I appreciate you very much. Very excited to be a part of this historic and passionate city. Your love for sports, both professionally and collegiate is second to none. And I take that passion seriously. This is a blue-collar-grind-it-out community that thrives on hard work and achieving success through commitment, teamwork and never-give-up attitude. We strive to replicate that on the field. I’m truly excited for the Lions fanbase. I’ve had the opportunity to play here a couple times and I’m very excited to have that on my side this time because it’s really loud in that place, and I’m excited to be a part of that. I’d like to take a moment to thank some people that I’m obviously very appreciative for an opportunity to be here. Robert, Jonathan, Dan Kraft and family, I appreciate you letting me be a part of your family for 14 years. I tried to do my best every day to be a great representative of your organization, so I thank you for that. I’d like to thank Coach Bill Belichick. There are not enough words I could put together. Thank you for everything that you have done for my family, for my career, for me personally. I appreciate you and I appreciate our time together so much, so I thank you. I’d like to thank all of the players, coaches and support staff at the Patriots that I’ve had the pleasure to be around and to work with. You made me better every day, and I appreciate how hard you worked for me, and the standard that you kept and held me accountable to. I love you guys very much and I appreciate all you did for me. To the fans in New England, I just wanted to say thank you for all the love and support you’ve given me over the last 14 years. New England is a special place and I will hold it dear in my heart. Most importantly, I’d like to thank my family, my wife’s family, thank you for all you do for us. You help us in so many ways. You allow me to try to be the best coach that I can be with all of your help, and love, and support, so thank you. To my parents, for sacrificing so much to give me a chance to do things I wanted to try. Some I succeeded in, some I did not, but that continual guidance, love and support is what drove me to push myself to try and succeed. And I can’t ever repay you for all you did, but I love you very much and I appreciate you more every day. I hope I can be a fraction of the parent that you were. You guys are definitely my heroes, thank you. To my beautiful children, thank God you look like your mom. You’ve been amazing, a blessing and showed me what unconditional love is. And you remind me of what truly is the most important thing in life. I love you guys very much. And to my wife, you are the most amazing person I ever met. There’s no way I could do this without you. I can never thank you enough for all of your love and support. People may think that my job is hard, but you are the one that has sacrificed and worked harder than anyone. Our journey has been blessed and crazy, but I am excited and look forward to this next amazing chapter in our lives. To the future of the Detroit Lions, the Lions organization, the players and the fans, I believe that I am a leader. I believe that I am a problem solver. I want to represent the toughness of this city. We will be organized. We will be detailed. We will teach and develop our players and our coaches. We will be passionate. We will love and respect the game, and we will be committed to winning. We will be competitive in all that we do. We will have a smart, tough, fundamentally sound football team that will play, perform and can execute under pressure. We will be hardworking. We will be competitive in all aspects of our planning, preparation and our performance. We will have a high-character culture in our organization. Our players will be positive role models and contributing members of the community. We will have a blue-collar mentality. We will work hard as a team to make this city proud. I look forward to meeting all of the current, the former, the Lion legends, and learning from all those who have walked these halls before. I love the history and the tradition of the game. I’m excited to be a part of that legacy here. I’m very much appreciative, thankful, to be the head coach of the Detroit Lions. But I’m very excited and very much so ready to go. I thank you for your patience and attention and we’ll open it up for any questions.” On what the last 48 hours have been like for him and what loose ends he had to tie up in New England: “So, it’s really been a little bit crazy as far as kind of a schedule for me here. So, we traveled back from Minnesota on Monday, got in Monday night. Kind of just regrouped as a family. You know, it was an opportunity for us to go home and kind of talk about some things and settle in. Tuesday for me, yesterday was a—go to New England, get a chance to see the guys that played for me last year and thank them for all of their hard work, tell them how much I appreciated them, how much I loved them. You know, just all of the hard years that we worked and things like that. I got an opportunity to tell everyone in that building how much they meant to me over the last 14 years and tell them how excited I was to move on for my next challenge. It was very much so a blessing of support and love coming from them, and wishing me well on the next step. And then obviously, the next phase and finally getting here. Unbelievable welcome by the Ford family, Mrs. (Martha) Ford and the Ford family, and just making us feel so at home. And the opportunity to have obviously, my entire family here, my parents, my wife’s parents. It’s been pretty amazing.” On what he can do to mesh the culture of New England with what Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Quinn has done in two seasons to create the Lions culture: “You know, I think it’s hard to really kind and categorize a way. I think in general, Bob and I have a lot of experience and history together. We believe in a lot of the same things as far as when you look at and evaluate players. How a team should be run, how it should be coached, so there’s a great background that we both share. And obviously as common ground that we both understand as how we both envision a team being run. So, that’s what makes it such a great match for Bob and I to be in this situation, that we can work together and try to put a team in place that we feel represents what we believe in, and what we want the Detroit Lions to look like. And hopefully that product will show up on the field. And I think after that, hopefully you have some success at that point, that’s when maybe you start calling it the Lions way. But we’ve got a long way to go before we have any particular way in which we’ll call our own. I’m going to get comfortable here for a second.” On why he was comfortable with some of the coaches that were on the offensive staff previously: “A lot of the staffing is still kind of a work in progress. Again, I just kind of got to town. Obviously, some great recommendations from Bob (Quinn) as far as our communication over the last couple days, the guys that were here. You know, when you go through an interview process in general, with all of the teams that you interview with, and I was blessed enough to interview with three. But there were other teams that were interested in talking to me. When that happens you tend to do a lot of research as someone that maybe has not necessarily been to that place before, doesn’t really know a lot about that organization, know that all the organizations in the NFL run completely different, they’re all their own entity. So, you start to do a lot of background, a lot of information. You talk to a lot of former coaches, current coaches, players, anybody you can to see if maybe that’s something that’s interesting for you to interview with. Unfortunate to be in that situation, obviously being the success that we had in New England, there were enough people that were interested in talking to me. So, once you start to do that process, you actually learn a lot more about the organization before you even had a chance to talk to anybody in the organization. And I would say that being said, I had a lot of coaches that I’ve worked with, and guys that I have been around before that have worked with a lot of the guys on the offensive side of the ball. So, taking people’s recommendations that I trust highly to make sure certain pieces were in place were important.” On what attracted him the most about the Lions head coaching opportunity: “Certainly my meeting with Bob (Quinn) and Rod (Wood) was one that I just felt very comfortable in. I felt immediately when I walked in the room that things just started to click on the same level—ideas, philosophies, the way that you wanted an organization or a football team to be run, kind of the mentality behind it was very similar. I know that Bob’s and my working relationship is outstanding, has been outstanding previously, and so there’s obviously no reason to think that it wouldn’t be that way moving forward. So, my comfort level with Bob is huge in all of this. My information, and my background and my research about what a wonderful family the Ford family is, and how they run the organization. Just what an obviously, welcoming and loving place this is, which has been beyond our expectations as we walk in the door today. So, those are things that make you feel very comfortable. And in the process when you talk to different organizations, you definitely get a different feel for as far as I’ll call it, the layers, between maybe a head coach and the ownership. And to me, it’s very important. I came from an organization where I was very close with the ownership there and that’s very important to me. Obviously, to have an opportunity to do that here is extremely important. That was a great kind of start.” On his plans for the defensive scheme and who will be calling the plays between he and Defensive Coordinator Paul Pasqualoni: “Again, scheme and things like that is going to be a process for us to go through before we kind of nail everything down. There’s a whole player evaluation that needs to take place first. There’s obviously free agency, the draft, which affects all of that too. As you go through the process of spring, training camp and the season, for me that changes. The scheme is not something that’s not necessarily locked into exactly has to be this. You want to kind of make sure you tailor what you do to the players that you have, so that they can perform at a high level out on the field. I’ll say coach Pasqualoni and I have a long history together. He was kind of enough to kind of give me my start in the Division 1 level. He really mentored me a lot and taught me a lot as far as how the game should be looked at, how to game plan, how to strategize and how to really get the most out of young players. Kind of a natural fit, we’ve always maintained contact and connections through the course of the years. Really kind of followed some similar, I’ll call it background, from people that we’ve worked for. So, there’s a lot of common ground from what we believe in, how a defense should be played, how it should be run, the fundamentals behind it. You know, the core teaching of what should be accomplished first and foremost. There’s a huge comfort level for me to have him on board and to be able to entrust him to handle that.” On who will handle defensive play calling: “Well, you know what the good thing about being the head coach is? Anytime I want to call a play, offense, defense or special teams, I get to call it. So, that’ll be pretty exciting for me.” On what is one thing he can take from Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and one thing he does not want to take from him: “I mean, just as far as Coach Belichick is concerned, I’ll say this, he’s one of the most amazing coaches I’ve ever been around. The way that he looks at the game, his vision of the game, the way that he sees the game move and change before it actually does is unbelievable. I’ll say this, there’s only one Coach Belichick, that’s it. He’s amazing. He’s in New England. I’m Matt Patricia. I’m kind of my own person. I’m my own guy. I’ve got my own style. But I certainly will take all those lessons I’ve learned, from how to teach and coach, and the fundamental beliefs that we had in New England—which I think our strong, similar to what I would take from my learning experience at Syracuse, even at the lower levels, Amherst College, and even through my playing years at RPI. I think I continually try to learn and try to take any situation that comes up. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the professional level or not, but if it’s a situation that comes up that I think I can learn from, I’m going to obviously put that in my memory back some place. And when it needs to come out, or I need to use that in a situation, I’ll try to pull from that experience.” On how he bridges the offseason gap and catch-up on the necessary offseason plans: “Yeah, even in my previous experience, whenever the season ends I feel like we’re behind. So, as soon as everything is done, whenever that last game is, you’re in a catchup mode and you’re trying to get going. So, it’s the same situation that I would’ve been in no matter what. I’m in that mode where there’s a lot of work to be done and not a lot of time to get it done. The good thing is that there is a process to take us through the spring, into OTA’s by the time we get to training camp and all that. There’s a calendar that we’ll put together and kind of put some target points in there. Certainly, at this point we’ve got a lot of work to do. You know, just walked in the building, so I’ve got my work cut out for me.” On if he has met with QB Matthew Stafford yet: “Yeah, you know, I spoke to him last night. I wished him a happy birthday. Today’s his birthday. He’s great. Obviously, I’ve had the opportunity to play to against him a couple times and see him on film and study him, so I know what a tremendous quarterback he is, what a competitor and someone that just is a true professional at what he does. So, we had a great conversation last night, it was very much so, ‘How’s everything going?’ I’m excited, you know, just to get him a chance to get to know who I am and speak to me on the phone. I look forward to meeting all of our players though, to be honest with you. I’m really excited to kind of get to know all of them and, you know, start to build that team attitude.” On if he looks at the fans’ desire for a championship as an opportunity to cement a legacy for himself: “I don’t focus on too far in advance, so a ‘legacy’ I think would be not a word that I would use. I certainly understand that winning is critically important in the NFL in general. Job security is part of that too, so I understand that we want to try to do our best to put a great product out on the field and hopefully – Look, we’re going to have to take it one game at a time. This is a building process. This is definitely something that takes a course of, a length of a period of time to do, but the bottom line is it’s about winning. It’s about trying to compete at a high level and that’s certainly what I try to do every single day and what we’re going to try to do here as an organization.” On how imperative it is for this team to fix the offensive line: “I mean, I think as a head coach you need to be involved in all aspects of the team, so offense, defense, special teams. I think it’s critically important for me as a head coach to be able to stand up in front of the team and explain to them, ‘Hey, look, this is how we’re going to win the game. This is what we need to do on offense. This is what we need to do on defense. This is what we need to do on special teams. And if we can do these four, five things, we’ll put ourselves in a situation where we can win.’ So, I plan to be involved in kind of all aspects of the team as the head coach and to make sure that I understand everything that we’re doing on all three sides of the ball. I would say in general all aspects of the team need to operate at a high level and we’re going to invest a lot in all aspects of the team. I don’t really single out any side of it. I know there’s some, whatever the situation was previously before I got here, but for me it’s all about moving forward. You know, where are we now? Obviously, I’ll be in a different spot here a couple weeks down the road.” On when he knew this was his dream job: “Good question. So, when I was, I’m giving age, but very young we used to play electric football. Not too many people probably remember the electric football game. Yeah, the whole thing. I just remember my friends and I at the time we would set up all the plays and diagram, you know, we would have all the strategy involved in all of it. So, I knew at a very young age the strategic part of the game was something that I just, I loved, I thrived on it. You know, we would try to just out-plan each other all the time and we’d have huge games that would roll into weeks at a time. I would say for me as a coach, you know, there was definitely a distinct moment the year after I got done playing when I was at R.P.I. as kind of a grad assistant that I remember making that switch from player to coach mentality. I had that first opportunity to see someone that, you know, that I taught or showed how to do and he executed it in a game and the success that we had and his joy that he showed from being able to do that, that’s really when it clicked for me as a coach. I think, you know, at that point the strategic part of the game, along with my coaching aspirations, just kind of put things in motion. I’m a pretty competitive person. I like to compete at the highest levels and I like to win, so I think that’s just kind of what’s fueled me to now be, you know, in this position. But at a very young age, it was all the strategy part of it, you as the coach kind of lining it all up. Whether it was backyard football or electric football or whatever it was, as much as we could do it we were playing football.” On why he can be the coach who will buck the trend of former Bill Belichick assistants not having success as head coaches: “Yeah, you know, I’ll say this – The NFL’s very hard. It’s an extremely competitive game. There’s a lot of good players, a lot of good coaches and a lot of good teams. So, this is a competitive business. It’s a production business. You know, for me, whatever anybody’s done in the past, that really doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’ve just got to try to make sure that I can go out and do my best moving forward and put a plan in place to hopefully help us achieve success and make sure that we’re working in the right direction with everything that Bob (Quinn) and myself have set forward based on our vision. So, you know, I’m not really worried about what everybody else has done. I’m just trying to make sure that I do everything in my power to do it right.” On if he believes the culture needs to be changed in an organization such as the Lions: “I mean, again, I think for me it’s just about moving forward, you know, what’s important right now. Obviously, that will start with staffing, the organization, just putting some coaches in place. Then it will be geared toward building the team and making sure that we have guys in here that we’re looking for that have our vision moving forward, that understand what we’re about and what we want to be and trying to achieve that winning kind of success. So, again, it’s all about moving forward for me. I don’t know if we can really go back and look at the past. I think you can learn from the past, I think you can take a look at examples of things that happened, but I wasn’t there. So, I don’t really know.” On if he thinks the team can win a Super Bowl this season: “I mean, again, for us I’m really hoping that I get the right staff in place here in the next couple weeks. That’ll be my immediate future plans. For us, I think, you know, when we get to the fall, which is a long way away, but will be here faster than you know it, for us it’s going to be about that constant improvement. I think the way that the scheduling and the training camp is run right now, it’s a little bit different than what it was when I first got into the League. The process for improvement is a little bit different, there’s a little less practice time I would say than what there was before. So, it takes a little bit longer for the team to kind of click and come together and that building process, you know, may be during the season. You’re just trying to look for that constant improvement and, you know, see where it goes from there. So, I think before we talk about anything like that, you know, the first and foremost issue that we’re going to have to deal with is the division. We have a very competitive division, we have some great teams in the division and really, you’re not going to be able to do anything unless you handle business in the division first. So, you know, again, for us that’s a long way off. We’re just trying to make sure we do a good job here through the next couple months in evaluating players and getting ready for the draft and then working into the spring.” On if Jim Bob Cooter will be the team’s offensive coordinator: “Yeah, Jim Bob is on staff and he will be here. Obviously, he’s done a great job here in what he’s been able to accomplish with both him and Stafford and the offense. He’s someone, again, that has worked with a lot of guys that I’ve worked with in the past and someone that everyone speaks very highly of. I have a lot of respect for him because I’ve been on the other side of the ball, you know, going against him. So, looking forward to working together and continuing that success and building on the things that have been done on that side of the ball.” LIONS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER BOB QUINN Q&A QUOTE SHEET On it is easier to find a coach who fits his team-building philosophy: “Yeah, probably a little easier just because you know, Matt and I have such a long background together. But I think before Matt got here I was trying to get the organization on the right path in terms of player acquisition, football operations, and you know I wasn’t coaching the team, so that’s kind of in the past. And that’s kind of where Matt’s going to step in, and take that department and hopefully take it to that next level.” On if there were one or two questions during the interview process that assured him Patricia was the right coach for the Lions: “Not going to go into every question I asked him, but I think overall Matt’s answers really just were very aligned with what I believe in and what I really believe will take us to that next level. And going through the interview process with other candidates, you know, I didn’t really know a lot of those guys personally. I knew a few of them, but the 12 years that we worked together, I mean those are a lot of long hours. Those were long, long drives to look at players, long conversations in your office late at night about players, how would you do this, how do you think this guy played, can this guy fit in this scheme. I mean, there was hours upon hours that were built up over those 12 years that really made the interview process, the two times that we met it was really seamless. It was like we were back in his office talking football again, so it was just a really good alignment.” On how early he placed Patricia on his list of potential future NFL head coaching candidates “That’s a good question. I would say probably when Matt got there (New England) he was a lower level assistant, kind of like I was in the scouting department. And so, I don’t think he was on that list then, but I think over the time that we’ve worked together and Matt kind of elevated his career to where he was at the defensive coordinator position, I think that’s really where I kind of always thought, ‘You know what, if I ever get my chance, Matt and I could probably work together.” On what aspect of the organization he promoted the most to get Patricia to want to coach the Lions: “Well, I think this organization sells itself and I think it starts with Mrs. Ford and her family. I think the support that they give us is incredible and I think when we talk about going into a situation, trying to build a team, try to build the organization back to where we want it, those are really the easy selling points. I mean, I don’t think I really had to sell Matt on much because I think he did a lot of research like he did on all the teams that he interviewed with, of which teams that he would really consider. You know, we talked about everything from ownership, to how we travel, to how we’re going to meet, how we’re going to do training camp. Like, we went through the gamut of every question, so I don’t think I needed to sell Matt at all.” On if he will tailor how he does his job at all to how Patricia operates as a coach: “Well, yeah. When Matt and I get together and we start really formulating our plan of what the team wants to look like, which I think we have a pretty good idea of how that’s going to run, obviously me and Matt are going to be tied at the hip in terms of player acquisition. We’re going to get together, we’re going to draft the players that we both want. We’re going to sign the players that we both want. We’re going to develop the players we both want. And you know, those decisions are never going to be one sided. We’re going to make the best decisions for the Detroit Lions and that’s going to be both of us together.” On if he and Patricia have discussed contract plans for DE Ezekiel Ansah: “I have not talked to Matt about Ziggy yet. He literally, Matt, just got here this morning actually. So, we didn’t talk through that in the interview process.” On the pressure he and Patricia face to succeed: “Yeah, I mean it is a lot of pressure every day in this job. And every game is important, so Matt and I want to win now, but we’re going to win the right way. We’re going to build from what we have currently and hopefully improve the roster every year, every day, every week, every draft, every free agent period, until we get where we want to be. So, we’re not putting any timelines or timetables on when we’re going to win what, but I think we have great aspirations about what we want to do in this organization.” On if there was any fear Patricia would get cold feet before being announced today as head coach: “No, zero.” On if Patricia wearing a Roger Goodell shirt was discussed: “It is not a concern at all. And yes, we talked about it. I’d say very briefly.” Click here to unsubscribe from this mailing or update your notification preferences.