Allen Park — Amani Oruwariye had a tough week.
The fourth-year Lions cornerback returned from a back injury last Sunday, only to become the most penalized man in Minneapolis and the face of Detroit’s defensive downturn in the second half of a 28-24 loss to the Vikings.
Oruwariye, who ranked third in the NFL in interceptions a season ago, was flagged six times — four illegal-contact penalties, one defensive pass-interference and one defensive holding — resulting in four first downs and 36 yards. And when the ball was thrown his way without a flag, Vikings receiver Adam Thielen often made him pay.
That said, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn isn’t fretting the downswing.
“Not concerned at all,” Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said.
“Cause that wasn’t something that’s been consistent with this player, and then I would say this, man: Welcome to the NFL. Life of a corner. The way they were calling it, the way they were calling every little thing he was doing — it seemed like he was bullseye that game.”
That may be true, but even outside of the penalty onslaught, Oruwariye is not off to his best start. Pro Football Focus has given him a run-defense grade of 28.3 and a pass-defense grade of 29.5; he’s allowed the eighth-most receptions (14) and is tied for 16th in targets (19) in the league, despite only playing in two-thirds of the games so far.
“The thing that you have to do is make sure you get yourself back up, man. Go back to the next game and be just as aggressive,” Glenn said. “But just understand, man, where your hand’s at, alright? If your hands are high, they see that. And I think a lot of that was just the technique that he was doing that week. We talked to him quite a bit about that. He worked on it yesterday and that’s something he’s gotta continue to work on.
“Listen, I have full confidence in Amani. He’s a guy that can get the ball back for us, and we’re expecting him to do those things this week.”
Lions kicker Austin Seibert missed field-goal attempts of 48 and 54 yards against the Vikings, the latter of which may have defined the game’s result.
If the poor day was a one-off, it might be less concerning. But Seibert has now gone just 4-for-8 on kicks 45 yards or farther in a Lions uniform, and it’s not only time to start wondering about Seibert — who, to be fair, is dealing with a groin injury — but also the positions that coaches are putting him in.
“If you’re talking about the field goals, we obviously expect to make those. I expect to make those,” Lions special-teams coordinator Dave Fipp said. “We had a 48-yarder and a 54-yarder; those are clearly makeable kicks. They’re indoors in good situations.”
With Seibert’s injury status unclear heading into the weekend, the door may be open for practice-squad kicker Dominik Eberle. Eberle made 79% of his kicks at Utah State; he played one NFL game for Houston last season and went 2-for-3 on field goals (1-of-2 from 50-plus yards).
“(Eberle has) been great,” Fipp said. “He had an outstanding workout when we brought him in here and we’re excited about that.”
The Seahawks and Lions don’t play for a few more days, but fightin’ words have already been exchanged.
Seattle wide receiver D.K. Metcalf was asked about facing Jeff Okudah, who appears to be rounding into form after a tough start to his career. Metcalf’s response: Let’s pump the breaks, now.
“There’s a safety over top of him, so he’s really not locking people down,” Metcalf said. “But he’s a good corner.”
Glenn responded to Metcalf’s comments by saying, “Well, that’s defense.”
“I mean, our job is to match our players up and then also be able to scheme to take people out, so regardless if there’s a safety, if there’s a linebacker, there’s — we just play defense the way we have to play it to try and win,” Glenn said.