All 900 words Matt Patricia said to explain Lions infamous snow practice

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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Feeling heat for having his team practice outside Thursday in a light snow when its next four games are in climate-controlled environments, Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia spent part of his news conference Friday delivering an epic statement on his thinking behind the practice.

Patricia opened his media session by thanking all branches of the military for their service and announcing that Lions players had organized a ticket drive to bring several hundred military members to Sunday's "Salute to Service game" against the Carolina Panthers.

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Then Patricia launched in a 4.5-minute oration about Thursday's practice. Here are all 900 words he said on the topic:

“In regards to practice, a couple comments I just want to make on this topic and provide some maybe insight and let’s call it closure to this continual conversation that we have here as far as our training. First, we’ll always practice and train in a manner that looks out for our players’ ability to prepare each week for our opponent, while also taking care of and including all the parameters to the overall health and safety of our team. Indoor walk-throughs, which we had this week, which we’ve also had in the past, are always beneficial to our team, it’s beneficial to our players. It’s a great teaching and learning environment. It’s an opportunity for us to pull off them physically, the demands of practice and the overall hustle and pursuit of what we have to do during the course of a practice and our movements.

The Lions practiced in the show in Allen Park, Thursday. Coach Matt Patricia is rocking the shorts.

"It also gives a little bit of extra rest to most of the players out there on the turf. That also, though, allows some of the players that might not be able to practice out there in a normal practice environment to go out and get reps and get communication and get prepared for the game. The downside of practicing indoors on turf is the wear and effect that it has on the bigger-body players on our team. Standing on turf or running on turf often time for extended periods of times affects joints, it affects swelling and it really causes the body in the different members of our team to have pain or joint swelling that then will cause them further delay in preparing for playing in a game. Practicing outside has multiple benefits, it provides different elements for us to prepare and work through in the grand, overall preparation of our team.

“Yesterday was a good opportunity for us to go outside, to be able to practice and work on our fundamentals from the standpoint that 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 the 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 can work on our fundamentals in what I thought would be a safer manner, which is true.

“Going outside yesterday allowed us to also have the opportunity to focus on our fundamentals, which we needed to do, and take care and make sure that we are technically sound in some of our footwork. Practicing in some of those conditions, whether it’s mud, snow, loose grass, whatever the case may be, focuses most of the skill players have to keep their feet underneath them, be able to break with low center of gravity and play technically sound, which is always good from a fundamental standpoint. So it was a good opportunity to get that done.

“The temperature yesterday was not a factor. It was not cold outside and there was not a heavy wind, so it was an easy day for us to go outside and get some good work done. Working through conditions that are not ideal as a football team is also another benefit for us to take live learning environments and turn them into actual teaching moments. Outside also allows us to focus on the details again, like I said of our technique but also the awareness of our surroundings, which we’ll have to play through and fight through at some point, in particular through the course of the year. When the elements pop up, it’s a great learning lesson for us to kind of take the opportunity to make sure that we fight through it and again remember that we’re always playing the team or the opponent, not the elements.

Detroit Lions fans cheer against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium, Oct. 20, 2018 in Miami, Fla.

“In many cases, we change and alter practice and locations based on what we feel is best for the team in that particular moment. Some of those decisions are made at the very last minute based on how the weather or the field – or how the team feels at that particular team.

“Last Friday we practiced inside and we played outside. Miami week, we practiced outside in the quote-unquote cold, but we played in a 112-field temperature game. Again, it’s about the preparation, it’s about how we practice, it’s about our execution, and then it’s about how we perform on Sunday. That’s all that really matters. So that’s just all we’re trying to do. There’s no more discussion, there’s no conversation about it. I’d like to move on and show a little bit more respect to Carolina, the Panthers, Coach Ron Rivera, his outstanding team that he’s bringing up here to play against us and the challenges that we have in fact trying to stop them and prepare for them.

“We’re going to be practicing today just so everybody’s clear, all right? Make sure everybody’s good on all the head coaches in the room on that. Everybody good there? So again, there’s some wind out there, some gusts, it’s probably a good idea to practice inside and make sure we have some good time. It’s all based on what’s best for the team at that point. We good? Great."

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Contact Dave Birkett: Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



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