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  • The Detroit Lions underwent a regime change in the offseason Donte Jackson Color Rush Jersey , and the early returns already have long-suffering fans of this team fearing the worst.

    A 1-3 record in the NFL preseason saw the Lions finish with a minus-34 point differential. But if this is cause for concern, new coach Matt Patricia isn't showing it.

    "I think for me, I'm really just trying to look forward as far as what we've got to do this week," Patricia said. The Lions open the regular season playing host to the New York Jets on Monday, and that's where Patricia is placing his emphasis.

    His players are also opting to take the same approach as their coach.

    "We're kind of using the preseason as a stepping stone," linebacker Jarrad Davis said. "Now we're playing and practicing for a new team, somebody that we want to go beat, and it's actually going to count."

    Defensive back Quandre Diggs, who agreed a three-year, $20.4 million contract extension with the team on Monday, figures the Lions are simply in the midst of the natural growing pains that come from a transitional phase.

    "I've dealt with change in the past in college (at Texas)," Diggs said. "It really isn't different. It's the nature of the business."

    Still, surrendering a league-high 27.75 points in preseason play has to be a worry for a team that put its future in the hands of Patricia, formerly the defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.

    "I think we got some things accomplished as far as player evaluation," Patricia said. "That was our biggest point of emphasis. We got some fundamentals laid down."

    He'll continue to evaluate and reassess. On Monday, Patricia reached back into his past as the Lions claimed linebacker Marquis Flowers on waivers from the Patriots.

    "We'll still be working the roster as best we can," Patricia said. "We'll be bringing guys in. There's a lot of guys that have been released here over the last couple of days, and more to come, so we'll continually try to look at those players to see if they help upgrade us."

    After the Lions concluded the preseason with a 35-17 home loss to the Cleveland Browns, Patricia allowed that the process of implementing what he wants to do is going to take a long time. Exactly how long was a commitment he wasn't prepared to make.

    "I don't think we ever really put a finite time on that," Patricia said. "We certainly have a lot of work to do, which is definitely part of this as we go. I thought by the end of training camp, things were working a lot more smoother, a lot better.

    "It's just a process that we go through and where that journey takes us, we'll find out."

    NOTES: Rookie receiver Brandon Powell switched from No. 1 to No. 10, but it was not of his own volition. "I don't know," Powell said. "I just came in here this morning and it was hanging in my locker. I was just happy to have a number." ... Flowers was issued No. 59. ... LB Trevor Bates was waived to make room for Flowers. ... Two players picked up on waivers Sunday, CB Dee Virgin (Houston) and OL Andrew Donnal (Baltimore) Juuse Saros Jersey , joined practice Monday. Donnal was issued No. 78 and Virgin is wearing No. 30.

    With every Anthony Davis put-back dunk, reverse alley-oop jam, step-back 3-pointer or game-sealing block in the playoffs, the New Orleans Pelicans take a step closer to becoming the NBA’s next small-market success story.

    That didn’t quite happen with Chris Paul, who essentially forced a trade after his sixth season in the Big Easy amid concerns about uncertain ownership.

    The 25-year-old Davis is now in his sixth season in New Orleans. And the five-time All-Star is not only playing historically good basketball, but seems to see no need for moving vans in order to go ring hunting.

    Davis, after all, was a young fan when Reggie Miller was in the twilight of an 18-year career with Indiana that transformed the Pacers into playoff regulars – and while Tim Duncan was embarking on a long career in San Antonio highlighted by five NBA titles.

    ”There’s always, you know, `You can’t win in a small market or you can’t get noticed in a small market,’ but then you look at those guys and they’ve won and been well recognized in their respective teams,” Davis said, referring to Miller and Duncan. ”I love the city of New Orleans. I love playing for the city. The city’s showed me a lot of love, so I couldn’t ask for a better place to be.”

    New Orleans is noticing. So, apparently, is the rest of the world.

    Sharp-shooting forward Nikola Mirotic, a Montenegro native acquired by the Pelicans in a mid-season trade, said Davis already has enhanced New Orleans’ international profile because of the NBA’s global appeal.

    ”I know in my country, for example – or Spain, or Serbia – they all talk about him. They all want to see him playing because of the show he puts on,” Mirotic said. ”He’s still young. There’s a lot of room for him to improve. I’m sure he’s going to be someone that everybody is going to remember in the future.”

    Saints quarterback Drew Brees remains New Orleans’ most popular athlete. But Davis’ rising global star power is on full display.

    The Pelicans’ home arena, the Smoothie King Center, was packed to the rafters and deafeningly loud during games 3 and 4 of sixth-seeded New Orleans’ somewhat surprising first-round sweep of the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers. The series victory not only was New Orleans’ first since 2008, but only the second since the NBA returned 16 seasons ago to the city where the Pete Maravich-led Jazz originally played from 1974-79, before moving to Utah.

    Davis averaged 33 points, 12 rebounds and nearly three blocks per game during the first round of the playoffs, earning him constant ”M-V-P” chants from fans – who hope this is just the start.

    ”We would want this to be something that changes the mindset of not just what we do here, but also of other people looking to come here Adidas Patrick Kane Jersey ,” said Pelicans forward Solomon Hill, who joined Davis as a free agent in 2016. ”From player personnel to the front office, whatever it may be, we’re trying to let everybody know that New Orleans is a place where we’re trying to win – and he’s the key piece you need.”

    Sitting on the bench in street clothes and a walking boot watching Davis these days is fellow All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, who is due to become a free agent this offseason. The Pelicans have said they’ll try to re-sign Cousins, who technically is now part of his first playoff team in eight NBA seasons, but who still has yet to play in the postseason because of his Achilles tear in January.

    Davis said he hopes the way the Pelicans played, and the way fans cheered, in the first round gives Cousins ”a little itch to come back.”

    New Orleans hardly looked like a playoff lock in the highly competitive Western Conference after Cousins was injured. But Davis averaged an NBA-high 30.2 points during the last 34 regular season games, with the Pelicans going 21-13.

    Unlike when Paul was in New Orleans, the Pelicans are now on sound financial footing, with the same local ownership as the NFL’s Saints. They have a modern, spacious, permanent practice facility on the same campus as Saints headquarters and a team-friendly arena lease that runs through 2024.

    Davis is under contract for three more seasons.

    ”I know that his goal is to be the foundation of a team that wins consistently here,” coach Alvin Gentry said. ”With the talent-level that he is and the way he can make other guys better just by being on the court with them, I see no reason why that can’t happen.”

    Guard Jrue Holiday, who had 33 points in Game 2 and 41 in Game 4, is under contract for four more seasons. Veteran guard Rajon Rondo, who won a title in Boston with a ”Big Three” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, said he came to New Orleans on a one-year deal to play with the ”Big Three” of Davis, Cousins and Holiday. During the playoffs, Rondo has emerged as the club’s third star, piling up 53 assists in four games.

    Davis wants Rondo back next year as well, and very well may get his wish.

    ”We just can’t make this a one-every-three-years or one-every-two-years” playoff run, Davis said. ”It needs to be a consistent thing where before every season they’re talking about: These are the top five teams that we know are going to be in there – and we need to be one of them.”