There was no true long-term advantage to winning Sunday's game against the hapless Washington Redskins and, of course, the Detroit Lions bumbled their way to a loss and immediate shame. Defining rock-bottom is always a tough proposition for a franchise that excels at getting out the biggest drill bit and forging deeper into the Earth's mantle. But this is certainly a sad state of affairs, allowing greenhorn quarterback Dwayne Haskins to mount his first fourth-quarter comeback and notch his first win.
The Lions' toothless defense wasn't as bad as usual (allowing only 19 points), yet still bad enough to lose by failing to get key stops when they were needed. Who is responsible for this? Well, that's a difficult question. Head coach Matt Patricia studied a laminated sheet and was active on the headset while his team was on defense way more so than other parts of the game. Paul Pasqualoni, the actual defensive coordinator, was less involved, leading reporters to question who was calling plays for the unit.
Patricia's response? Aimed at secrecy.
"Again, like I’ve said before, I have a lot of different roles on game day and certainly from that standpoint, I’m very active in the communication from all phases of the game, all three phases," Patricia said. "So there’s going to be plays out there that I can call, there’s going to be plays out there Coach P’s calling, there’s going to be plays out there that certainly are just kind of automatic calls for us."
Asked what percent of plays he called Sunday, Patricia said, “I don’t know. I’m not going to get into that stuff."
When a reporter asked if it was 100% or less, Patricia said, "Again, like I’m not really going to get into the details of all that stuff. It changes week by week."
We haven't seen this steadfast commitment to maintaining the anonymity of a person since last week's Whistleblower hearings.
In short, it doesn't really matter who has final say with the Lions defense. If it's Pasqualoni, then Patricia is giving his tacit sign-off to a failed experiment. If it's the bearded genius himself, well, we already know that this thing has gone irreparably bad.
All of this cloak and dagger behavior is unnecessary, but unsurprising. Success has many fathers while failure is an orphan.