Campbell says scheme, personnel changes on deck for Lions’ defense

Detroit News

Allen Park — After the Detroit Lions’ defense got ransacked at home by the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, capping a horrific four-game start to the season for the unit, changes are on the horizon.

No, the team isn’t considering firing or demoting coordinator Aaron Glenn, but coach Dan Campbell acknowledged scheme and personnel adjustments are on the way, even if he understandably wasn’t eager to provide details on the internal discussions that are still ongoing.

“(Glenn) and I are still working through that,” Campbell said. “Us and the defense, we’ve been going through that and had the team meeting, so I’m not totally through with all that, but I know we’re going to need to move some personnel around. That’ll be one part of it, and then, certainly, look at calming things down and simplifying schematically. Those will be two of the biggest changes that I think that we’re going to need to make.”

Campbell promised a deep dive into the defense’s struggles immediately following the team’s 48-45 loss to Seattle, mirroring an approach he took with the offense last year that resulted in the coach demoting offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn and taking over play-calling duties.

That occurred during the team’s bye in 2021, but they still have an opponent on the schedule — Sunday’s trip to Foxboro to play the New England Patriots — before the annual midseason break this year. That could limit how many changes the Lions can make immediately, compared to what they could maybe implement later this month.

This week, it will be a concentrated focus on making sure they are putting the talent they already have on the roster in better position to slow the avalanche of points the defense is allowing.

“I think you’re looking at the totality of it,” Campbell said. “We’ve got to get some players that we feel like we can rely on, we can trust to get out there, because once they’re trustworthy, then their teammates will trust them. When you really watch it, the theme — and I told these guys this — that shows up over and over is that it’s a snowball effect. And we have a guy that doesn’t do the right thing, and then a guy who knows what to do is trying to overcompensate for it, and then that’s costing him a step behind his job. And then, this guy is trying to cover for him and then the next play they don’t trust that their teammate’s going to be there

“We’re in this vicious cycle right now,” Campbell said. “And so, we’ve got to pull things way, way back and just get our confidence back and getting some trust among teammates. That comes with scheme, that comes with personnel, and we’re going to work through it.”

But through it all, Campbell isn’t yet considering pulling the plug on Glenn the way he did with Lynn last year, reaffirming faith in the defensive coordinator.

“I know it was at the end of the year, I had a ton of respect for Anthony Lynn and I made a tough decision,” Glenn said. “I’ve had to do this before and I’m not afraid to make a hard decision if I really believed that’s where it was the cause of it, and I don’t believe it is. I believe that Aaron Glenn is the right man for the job and he gives us our best hope, our best option to run this defense. I just do.”

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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