Aubrey Pleasant became a hot defensive coordinator candidate rather suddenly, but he’ll be back with the Lions next season.
As defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn interviewed for two head coaching jobs this offseason, the Detroit Lions were also faced with the prospect of losing defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant when he interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings for their defensive coordinator opening.
With Dennis Allen moving up to replace Sean Payton as New Orleans Saints head coach, Pleasant interviewed for the defensive coordinator opening there too. There wasn’t a lot of firm word about his status for that job, until this week.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the Saints were moving to hire a defensive coordinator internally, and outside candidates who were no longer in the running (like Pleasant?) were being notified. The wording was just vague enough to keep the door open for Pleasant to be leaving the Lions.
Now, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic and Adam Rittenberg of ESPN have reported the Saints will promote assistant head coach/defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen and defensive backs coach Kris Richard to co-defensive coordinator roles.
Aubrey Pleasant is staying with the Lions for at least one more season
Pleasant drew praise for his work with a group of young Lions’ cornerbacks in 2021, especially as injuries thinned the group. A bounceback campaign for safety Tracy Walker, beyond simply being used in a way that better used his skills, is a good mark for Pleasant too.
Pleasant is for sure a future defensive coordinator, and possibly a future head coach if the track he seems to be on is any indicator. The Lions are in line to lose him at some point, possibly sooner rather than later unless Glenn departs for a head coaching job and Pleasant takes a subsequent promotion to defensive coordinator in Detroit.
But for at least one more season, Glenn and Pleasant will be working together to build on the defensive foundation they faced challenges in laying last season.