Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin: No one’s panicking right now

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin knows what everyone else knows after two poor performances by his defense.

But Undlin made it clear Tuesday that despite the early struggles across the board on defense, no one is panicking.

“We could go round and round and talk about what’s disappointing or what I saw – it doesn’t really matter at this point,” he said in a conference call. “It’s my job to get in the meeting room, point it out. It’s my job to get the players to believe in it and go out and execute it better. I’ve got to do a better job coaching, we’ve got to do a better job playing, and I would leave it at that.

“We’re going to move forward and we’re going to get it fixed. No panic right now in our room with any position group. We are all aware of the fact that we haven’t played great in the first two weeks and we’re 0-2. So you can point to anything you want. We’re 0-2 right now. It starts with me, and our goal is to get it fixed this week and we’re going to do everything we can, starting tomorrow, to get that fixed.”

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The Lions imploded in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears when they were shorthanded due to injuries and Jamie Collins’ ejection. In Green Bay, they fell apart because of mental mistakes. Undlin underscored the need for his players to be tougher mentally.

“(Coach Matt Patricia has) been talking about the ebbs and flows of the game,” Undlin said. “We’ve just got to focus on one play at a time. It doesn’t matter what the score is. We can be down 14, be up 14, it doesn’t matter. The focus and the energy needs to go into the next play no matter what the call is, no matter what the personnel is on the field, what they’ve got, and do our best to execute that. Again, it starts with me.”

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One of the glaring problems on the defense continue to be the ineffectiveness of the pass rush. The Lions have two sacksr – only the Las Vegas Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars have fewer sacks. In Green Bay, the Lions rarely put pressure on Aaron Rodgers. They notched one sack by Collins and three quarterback hits.

This week, the Lions face a daunting challenge against the Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray, who is a dual threat and leads the NFL with a 7.5-yard rushing average per carry.

“This guy this week is different,” Undlin said. “This guy this week is going to be a challenge as well. So I’ve got to put a scheme together that’s going to allow all three phases of the defense – the front, the linebackers and the secondary – to be successful.

“And whatever that plan is, what it’s going to be then, we’ve got to do the best we can to execute it. But I mean I think every plan’s different, every quarterback’s different.”

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Regardless of the disappointing results – the Lions rank last in rushing defense and have the third-worst scoring defense – Undlin doesn’t want his players looking backward.

“And our focus right now, we’ve got blinders on,” he said. “We’re not going to look to the left, I’m not looking at the right. I’m looking straight ahead. And straight ahead right now is Wednesday morning meeting, Wednesday morning practice, Wednesday afternoon meetings and then we’ll go to Thursday. That’s it. Nothing else.”

One more thing. Undlin wanted to make it clear he trusts any play he puts on the field.

“My attack and my vision for these guys is always the same,” Undlin said. “A: I believe in them. We have good players. I don’t have any doubt. Have we played the best we can play? Obviously not. We’re 0-2. But at this point right now coming up to the third game, we have 14 games left. So let’s not panic, all right? Let’s not forget that we haven’t played great, I haven’t coached good enough. Let’s not forget that.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Lions content. 

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