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Lions cornerback Darius Slay turned some heads when he appeared to criticize the coaching staff’s defensive scheme, but the team’s head coach is attempting to pour water on the fire.
Slay hinted that he was looking to be traded in the days leading up to the deadline, but the team elected not to move him, with whispers indicating that the asking price was fairly high.
The Lions suffered a disappointing loss to the Raiders on Sunday, giving up 450 total yards in the process. Slay was not happy about it when speaking to reporters after the game, and he made headlines when he said “we might be putting the pieces to the puzzle in the wrong spot.”
That appeared to be a shot at the Lions coaching staff, but Matt Patricia doesn’t see it that way, indicating that the quotes were taken a bit out of context.
“I think some of that’s not really accurate as far as how the comments were taken and what was said,” he said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Patricia did go on to say that similar plays have been hurting them each week.
“There’s plays that we see every week that have hurt us,” Patricia said. “This is a copycat league, there’s going to be things in there that come up that we got to do a great job of trying to stop. But I’ve talked about that since Day 1 in football in September, in the preseason, building trust and our ability to slow some of those things down is critically important for us. So that’s what we’re trying to do.”
And rather than blaming the scheme, Patricia seemed to put more of an emphasis on executing — consistently.
“I think for us as a defense, we are all on the same page, we understand what the game plan is every single week, what we got to do to try to win,” he said. “We see a lot of great players, see a lot of great scheme and sometimes we make good plays and sometimes we don’t. For us it’s about trying to put some consistency together to do that every single play.”
Nice job by Patricia attempting to get ahead of this story, but it’s already a story, and it sure does appear that Slay is unhappy. It’s an imperfect marriage that will likely be dealt with in the offseason, but for now, Patricia is doing all he can to make it less of a distraction.