Wed, 21 Oct 2020

KEY QUESTIONS: What did Patricia think of Okudah's debut

Detroit Lions
22 Sep 2020, 20:25 GMT+10

Tim Twentyman

The Detroit Lions were back in Allen Park Monday trying to correct the mistakes that led to their 42-21 defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers Sunday.

Lions head coach Matt Patricia spoke to the media as he does every Monday, but opened this week's press conference offering condolences to Patriots running back James White, who lost his father, Tyrone, in car accident Sunday. White's mother was also in the car and remains hospitalized. Patricia knows White from their time together in New England.

The conversation then shifted to Sunday's loss, and Patricia said the team has to do a better job of not letting mistakes build and steamroll into bigger mistakes. Patricia talked about trying to stay consistent and not riding the wave of ups and downs throughout the course of a game, which we've seen in each of Detroit's two losses to start the season.

Here's a look at some of the key questions from Patricia's Monday press conference:

What did he think of cornerback Jeff Okudah's debut?

The Lions' first-round pick (No. 3 overall) made his debut Sunday after missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury. Okudah played every defensive snap, with mixed results.

Pro Football Focus credited him with giving up seven receptions on 10 targets for 121 yards.

"It's hard to take a look at yesterday's game and really think that there was anybody who stood out in a positive way," Patricia said. "I think there's a lot of plays on the field that we all need to do a better job of, including Jeff.

"I thought he did a good job playing within the game and certainly there's some plays out there we would like him to do better on than he did yesterday and improve on, but first game, lot coming at him from different directions, and great players on the field, so that was positive and we have a long way to go."

What will Okudah's role be when veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant returns?

Patricia was pretty noncommittal about it when asked, other than to say he wants to see competition. It seems like a safe bet that Trufant will see significant time as long as his health warrants it. That will leave Okudah and Amani Oruwariye to compete for playing time at the other spot.

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What's behind some of the safety rotations between Will Harris and Tracy Walker early in the season?

Harris played 49 snaps Sunday, while Walker, the team's leading tackler last season, played 39, or just over half. Last week, Walker played 54 snaps and Harris 52. Veteran Duron Harmon has played every snap over the first two games.

Patricia said he likes to play a lot of safeties and considers Walker, Harris and Harmon all starters. He said Harris getting more snaps than Walker Sunday was more a product of certain packages they highlighted on defense.

Harris missed a tackle on Green Bay running back Aaron Jones' 75-yard touchdown run to open the second half and was called for back-to-back personal foul penalties late in the second quarter that helped set up a Packers touchdown.

Harris did have five tackles. Walker had two tackles, one tackle for loss and two defended passes.

Patricia said both players can execute better moving forward.

Do the Lions need to reassess their defensive schemes based off what's happened the first two weeks?

Patricia is certainly not happy with how the defense has performed against the run early on. Chicago racked up 149 yards on the ground Week 1 and Green Bay had 259 yards. In order for the overall defense to succeed, that aspect of it really needs to improve. Patricia said it will take better execution, fundamentals and techniques.

Could the Lions opt to change up some of their schemes? Will they blitz more?

Patricia wants to fix some of the basic things first.

"If you just build things around scheme without fundamentals behind it, at some point, everything hurts," Patricia said. "It doesn't work.

"Those fundamentals are what you always go back to, especially late in the game, if you're tired, if you're run down or you've been on the field a long time. That muscle memory. Those fundamentals are things you rely on as a player and that's what we have to get better at."

Is Pro Bowl wide receiver Kenny Golladay getting closer to returning?

It's sounding like Golladay is close to returning to practice sometime this week. Patricia said the important next step after getting him back on the field would then be assessing how Golladay's sore hamstring reacts to going through a practice. Golladay, the NFL leader in touchdowns last season, has missed both of Detroit's first two contests.

The Lions have missed Golladay. He's one of the best in the league at stretching the field and making contested catches. Patricia said they've seen some different coverages than they probably would have with Golladay's ability to run at and get behind defenders in the back end.

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