DETROIT -- Don't call it a rebuild. At least Matt Patricia won't.
As the Detroit Lions have slid to the bottom of the NFC North standings with six straight losses and nine in their past10 games, Patricia has referenced the "process" his team is going through on several occasions.
But asked Wednesday if that's code for "rebuild," he wouldn't associate that word with where the Lions are 29 games into his tenure as head coach.
"I don't know. You can divide the English language however you want," Patricia said. "I think for us, you know me, we're just trying to get better this week. We got a lot of young players out there that are trying to get better and certainly for us, I think every season is a process."
Patricia has sidestepped questions in recent weeks about whether winning in Detroit has been harder than expected, where the Lions are in building their program and whether he sees on-field success in the cards for 2020.
"Right now I'm just focused on this week," he said Monday. "We'll worry about next year, next year."
The Lions are 3-9-1 and have won just nine games under Patricia, who inherited a team coming off back-to-back nine-win seasons.
Before he hired Patricia in 2018, Lions general manager Bob Quinn famously said he thought the Lions were better than their record under Jim Caldwell, and he was looking for a coach who could lead the team to Super Bowls.
With a veteran quarterback in Matthew Stafford and a core of players that included Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, left tackle Taylor Decker and wide receivers Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay, no one figured the Lions were in a rebuild at the time, and even last season's 6-10 result was considered a minor step back to take two steps forward.
This year, though, the Lions stumbled in their season opener, playing the Arizona Cardinals to a tie, then won their next two games before falling into a season-long tailspin.