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Columnist thinks coach could lose players for making them (gasp) run

Lions coach Matt Patricia making players run for mistakes in practice is good for the team because it establishes a new culture in Detroit.

Lions coach Matt Patricia’s short tenure has had some unexpected twists and turns. Now, even before the end of his first offseason program with the team, he’s facing his first locally-generated hot take.

A columnist in Detroit thinks Patricia could be in danger of losing his players, because (wait for it) he makes them run at practice as punishment for mistakes.

That’s the opening line, courtesy of Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “Matt Patricia is in danger of losing his players.”

Several paragraphs in, Monarrez uses a quote from rookie running back Kerryon Johnson that apparently was intended to reflect resentment with the tactic. “These are true professionals, Johnson said. “These are grown men, 30, 35, 25.”

The quote was later clarified to explain that Johnson was simply “marveling at the talent level difference between college and NFL players.” Which means he wasn’t complaining about the coach treating his players like something other than grown men. Which is what Monarrez surely hoped to imply.

Frankly, the quote should have been removed; the clarification makes the underlying take seem like even more of a stretch. Without it, however, the column would have come off as even kookier.

Patricia brings the longstanding New England culture of winning to Detroit. For a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991 and that has never been to a Super Bowl, that can’t be a bad thing.

Of course, it’s fair to say that, if Patricia is too much of a taskmaster, the players will become alienated if the team continues to struggle. But if the Lions win, Patricia will be celebrated, not castigated.

That’s been the big gamble for most Bill Belichick lieutenants who strike out on their own. Belichick’s ways work only because they work. If pushing players too hard doesn’t translate to victories, the person doing the pushing quickly will be pushed out.

Still, if Monarrez was looking for an edgy opinion during the slow months, he should have at least added the caveat that, no matter his methods, Patricia will never lose his players if he wins games.