| Detroit Free Press
Debating the Darrell Bevell narrative and the Detroit Lions’ future
Good-natured debate on the Darrell Bevell narrative after the Lions’ comeback over Bears, Matt Patricia’s culture and what’s next, Dec. 8, 2020.
Cory Undlin didn’t mince any words when he was asked Tuesday if the Detroit Lions’ defense would have extra energy this week in preparation for the Green Bay Packers’ potent offense.
“There better be,” the Lions defensive coordinator said in a conference call.
Undlin might not have needed to even say that much.
The Packers have steamrolled opponents this season on their way to a 9-3 record. Their average of 31.6 points leads the NFL, they rank second in overall offense and they’re top 10 in most significant statistical categories.
But perhaps more than all those impressive numbers, one might stand out: 42. That’s how many points the Packers scored (their second most this season) against the Lions in a 42-21 beatdown Week 2 at Lambeau Field — although one score came on a pick-six from the Packers’ defense.
“You guys know what I’m going to say,” Undlin said. “This will be a good test for us here. I would expect nothing less than a bunch of juice coming out of this room, regardless of (last) Sunday. Obviously Sunday, and the way we ended up finishing out the game and playing at the end, is going to help that.
“We’re going to keep going forward here. Got our hands full. I don’t need to go and take you through that – you guys know.”
The Lions put together one of their most inspired defensive efforts this season in a 34-30 win at Chicago. After allowing 253 yards in the first half against the Bears, the Lions made some defensive adjustments and controlled the game the rest of the way.
That kind of resilience could go a long way in aiding efforts to slow down the Packers.
“When we came out at halftime, there was no panic,” Undlin said. “Went in there and had a great conversation, showed the things we didn’t do well, didn’t tackle very well in the first half, didn’t really schematically get beat, just guys out of position.
“So came out of the tunnel at halftime, didn’t blink, and I think that obviously showed up in the second half. Moved some things around, some pieces, made some adjustments, again nothing major, but I think the credit goes to the players coming out of halftime. Nobody’s head was down.”
Now the Lions’ defense gets a second shot at the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who leads the NFL with 36 touchdown passes, with just four interceptions and is among the favorites to win NFL MVP honors.
Rodgers turned 37 last week and his scrambling isn’t as big a factor in his game as it used to be. But his mobility is still a useful tool, according to Undlin.
“Yeah, I would say that’s probably fair as far as getting out of the pocket and running for first downs,” Undlin said. “But I can show you 50 clips from this year when he’s standing back there and moving his feet in the pocket and just buying time.
“I would say the biggest thing is he doesn’t have to (run). He’s got a lot of weapons out there and she’s surgical if you want to start trying to bring more pressure, whether it’s five guys or six guys. That ball’s out. You rush four, you’ve got to be able to crush the pocket and make him move and hopefully throw from the well there and then play tight in coverage.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.