The Detroit Lions defense ranks dead last in points allowed through four week, allowing 26 more points than the second-worst scoring defense (Seahawks). They’re on pace to allow the most points in NFL history. And coach Dan Campbell is primed to do something about it.
During his Monday press conference following the team’s 48-45 loss to the aforementioned Seahawks, Campbell indicated that there will be some personnel changes on the horizon.
“I know we’re going to need to move some personnel around,“ Campbell said.
Campbell did not go into details about which players are in danger of losing their roles and who may step in, but the key thing the Lions coach is looking for is trust. The issue, according to Campbell, is that some players are consistently not doing their individual jobs. When that happens, it creates a snowball effect, where teammates then try to overcompensate for that player, only for them to abandon their own job. That builds mistrust in between the players and destroys team confidence.
“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.”
Schematically, Campbell also plans on scaling things back considerably.
“(We’ll) certainly look at calming things down and simplifying schematically,” Campbell said, again scant on the details.
One thing the Lions will not be doing is firing or demoting defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. Last year, Campbell demoted offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn after the Lions struggled offensively for the first half of the season. Eventually the two would part ways after the season.
On Monday, Campbell was asked if making a similar move with Glenn would be tougher for him, because he’s had a professional relationship with Glenn that spanned five years in New Orleans. He responded that he has no problem making tough decisions, but he doesn’t believe Glenn is the problem facing the defense right now—echoing statements he made after the game on Sunday.
“I had a ton of respect for Anthony Lynn and I made a tough decision. 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,” Campbell said. “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 – he gives us our best hope, our best option to run this defense. I just do.”
One potential change that has been popular among fans is moving Aidan Hutchinson from a three-point stance (hand on the ground) to a two-point (standing up). That’s essentially what Michigan did in the middle of Hutchinson’s career, and it resulted in his record-breaking final season in college.
Campbell said that is the kind of thing they may be considering, although in this specific case, he’s not sure it would benefit Hutchinson.
“We’re all open to whatever is most comfortable,” Campbell said. “Like if he feels like he can get his job done (standing) up, listen, no problem. I don’t feel like that’s an issue with him or that’s going to change anything, but we kind of take it all into account. If it’s something he feels like he’s more comfortable at, we’ll go with that.”
Detroit’s defense could have a chance to rebound this week facing a New England Patriots team that is just averaging 18.5 points per game.