Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay is taking full advantage of the media week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.
Slay, who is riding the high of going from a rebuilding Detroit franchise to the Philadelphia Eagles — a team in position to win a Lombardi Trophy — talked about how his former coach Matt Patricia’s disrespect of him has fueled his success in Philly.
Slay says Patricia’s arrogance stood out from the moment he was hired. In one of the first team meetings as head coach in 2018, Patricia told Slay that he wasn’t an “elite corner,” and proceeded to show clips of him getting beat in practice. Slay’s recollection of the meeting was that the intent was more about demoralizing him and others and not helping them get better.
At Tuesday’s Super Bowl Media Day, Slay told reporters this about Patricia.
“He basically just said, You are not in that category yet. At that time, I only had one Pro Bowl, but now I’m at five, so I wanna know how he feels about that now,” Slay said. “I don’t wish bad on him, but as a man, me and him just don’t get along. He’s a smart coach, he knows his X’s and O’s, but the disrespect is not what I’m with.”
Darius Slay Is A Pro Bowl Cornerback
Slay was always considered a super solid cornerback during his days in Detroit, making five Pro Bowls, leading the league in picks in 2017 and even earning a coveted first-team All-Pro. However, his name never came up when the elite cornerbacks were mentioned.
When the franchise made a head-scratching move and fired head coach Jim Caldwell, who had one losing season in four years (11-5, 7-9, 9-7 and 9-7), Patricia was hired as his replacement. Patricia assumed the job with no prior head coaching experience, but he had three Super Bowl rings as a member of the Patriots dynasty. Two came as the team’s defensive coordinator.
While Slay’s skills may have been underrated and underappreciated by his coach, by 2018 he’d already begun to make a name for himself as an effective cover corner on a Lions team devoid of talent defensively. Two Pro Bowls under Patricia in two seasons is pretty damn good, no matter how you slice it.
Darius Slay still fueled by disrespect from Matt Patricia. https://t.co/T0XBGFKNXX
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 7, 2023
Slay Leads A Talented Eagles Secondary
Philly enters Sunday’s festivities in Glendale with 80 sacks, and stats show 38 of those are a direct result of coverage on the back end, forcing opposing QBs to hold the football longer than they want to. That’s where Slay and teammate James Bradberry excel, in man-to-man coverage. Slay finished the regular season with three interceptions, 14 passes defensed and 55 total tackles.
"It's been a long journey. This is my first time making it past the first round in the playoffs, and I'm in Year 10. So I'm just very thankful for this moment and cherishing it."
Darius Slay is ready for #SuperBowlLVII ⬇️
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) February 7, 2023
Slay And Patricia Are In Different Places Now
The Eagles traded for the dynamic Slay in March 2020. Two Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl appearance later and it looks as if Slay is having the last laugh. As for Patricia, he fizzled out in Detroit, finishing with a 13-29-1 record before being fired 11 games into the 2020 season.
As part of the renowned “Good Ole Boy Network,” Patricia returned to New England under the iconic Bill Belichick. After a year in an advisory role, Patricia was given the keys to the offense and fell short in that role as second-year QB Mac Jones struggled all season.
If Slay wins this Super Bowl on Sunday who knows what he may say. Anybody who ever doubted him is fair game.