The Detroit Lions’ full-contact scrimmage this weekend wasn’t only valuable to the players, but also the coaching staff, which is fine-tuning its operational procedures heading into the regular season. Included in that will be the game-day location and role of defensive coordinator Cory Undlin.
During a Sunday video conference with reporters, Undlin confirmed he’ll be on the field and also said he’ll be handling play-calling duties for the defense.
“I’ll be on the field, calling the defense, obviously,” Undlin said.
Coaches have different philosophies on where they like to set up shop on game days. Some prefer the advantage of the full-field view they get from being above the action. But that atmosphere doesn’t suit Undlin.
“I’ve got plenty of eyes up top, and just personally, there is a feel of being on the field,” he said. “Any time, for me, when you’ve got to go through another conduit to get it out there, it’s more efficient for me. You guys haven’t got to know me, but there’s an element of being in front of them and looking at them when you’re coaching them. That would be my preference and Matt (Patricia) completely agrees with that. I’m going to be down there, in it, on ’em, with ’em. It will be good.”
As for the play-calling duties, there had previously been little clarity when the question had been raised since Undlin was hired to replace Paul Pasqualoni this offseason.
Previously, Pasqualoni had handled the defensive calls, but Patricia appeared to be more directly involved toward the end of last season. The longtime coach, and Patricia mentor, stepped down after last season.
The Lions ranked 31st in total defense in 2019 and 26th in points allowed.