When Darius Slay, Glover Quin and others left Detroit over the past two seasons, they did not have the most positive things to say about Lions coach Matt Patricia as they exited.
That hasn't been the experience of every player, however, and two current Lions spoke up on Patricia's behalf Wednesday when they were asked about his relationship with players on conference calls with local media.
Danny Amendola and Trey Flowers have been with Patricia in two stops -- New England and Detroit -- and chose to come to the Lions after Patricia was hired. So they understood the type of coach they were getting and what the expectations were coming into the program.
"The way I operate as a football player and the product that I put on the field in relation to the business that I conduct, I want it to be as tough as possible in practice so when I get into the games I've been there before," Amendola said. "I understand what it feels like to be tired in a game because I was tired in practice, and I understand what my body can go through and how I can push my body mentally and physically, and that's something I really relate to. That's something I look for.
"This is my sixth NFL team in 13 seasons, and played for all different types of coaches and in all different types of offenses and methods. So this is, what Coach Patricia has to offer is something that I eagerly look for because I know I'll get the best version of me."
Amendola was quick to say he couldn't speak for the experiences Damon Harrison or Slay had while they were in Detroit, and neither player was with Patricia in 2018, when the majority of issues Slay and Quin had with Patricia had come up. Other players, including Harrison, have also been critical when they've left the organization, but not for reasons directly related to the coach. For instance, Harrison felt there was an issue with scheme fit.
Flowers said he tried to explain to players what Patricia's expectations are, but said that in any change, there is going to be some conflict.
"I tried to give as much insight as I could as far as what was the expectation or what was the demand and why is the demand for excellence so high," Flowers said. "Coach Patricia, he's a guy who has always been about winning. And so however he can get that out of guys, he demands highly of them and expects highly of them and his standards are very high no matter what environment he goes in.
"Guys like you mentioned obviously was accustomed to a different style or a different type, and that's just how business goes. Some people like it and some people don't. That's just how any business you go in, you're going to have people that agree with things and don't agree with things."
Patricia, to his credit, said after his first season he would look at areas he needed to improve in. Issues appeared to lessen last season, both in how he dealt with players and his time with the media.
"I'll do everything in my power to improve," Patricia said after the 2018 season. "As always, I'll start with myself first and anything that I can do to be a better head coach, better leader of this team, better ways to improve myself so that we and all push forward and give ourselves a better chance to win."