Detroit Lions’ Defense: Big Question

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Lions’ Defense: Who To Blame?

AJ: As far as the Detroit Lions’ defense goes, I think it starts with scheme. I think it starts with Aaron Glenn. Taking a long look at himself in the mirror and going, What in the actual world I’m going to say online?

What is going on with this team? His, I don’t have the numbers. And I looked, I looked, I looked, I looked. I cannot find anywhere that breaks down past coverages per my team. Like per game?

But I swear if I had to put a number on it, Matt, they were in man coverage at least 75% of that game. Okay. Like that’s a team problem. You don’t have the talent to be running man coverage consistently like that. 

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Matt: Right. And you know, luckily for you, you’re a Michigan fan, so you’re not experiencing this on Saturdays as well as Sundays. Me being a Spartan fan, I am experiencing this on Saturdays as well as Sundays, and in both cases, yeah, it’s, to me a big question of does a scheme matter If your talent is so lacking that it doesn’t matter what scheme you throw in there, the guys doing the job are not good.

And outside of Jeff Okudah, I don’t know if anyone in the secondary is good enough. It’s not fair to throw anything on Lucas or Kerby Joseph, these younger guys that haven’t really had the chance. But for the guys who are out there, AO who’s out there, like no one seems good enough.

AJ: So I think that scheme matters, even more, when you don’t have the talent. because you have to put those less talented players in a position to succeed. And Aaron Glenn’s not doing that. Listen, these guys are NFL players. They’re good football players, but when you’re comparing them to the NFL football pool of talent, most of them are below average.

And he’s consistently in this scheme, putting below-average players on islands. And that’s not a recipe for success. When you’re blitzing consistently and you’re having Deshon Elliott, blitz from seven, eight yards back and not even getting close to the quarterback, there’s no reason at all for that.

That’s just bad scheme. It’s bad scheme all over the place. You have to find a way to scheme around your deficiencies. If you’re asking Alex Anzalone to cover a tight end in the flat, your scheme is broken because he is horrible in coverage. I think he graded out at a 35 on FF this week, and our defenders, I just wanna make this point.

I was looking up the stats according to ff. Of our top six defenders, three of them came from this draft class. Malcolm Rodriguez was number one, Kerby Joseph, and then number six was Aidan Hutchinson. Yeah. So the talent could potentially be there, but this was Kerby, Joseph’s first start. And I, like my brother and I made mention of it numerous times throughout the game, like he’s actually playing quite well for being like, he, he did a good job I thought.

 Rodriguez, right? Like a force of the fun ball on special teams. He had 11 tackles and had quarterback pressure like he did good. But, it’s scheme, man. I’m telling you it’s scheme. And Aaron Glenn’s gotta find a way to, to be better in the way that he puts his players in positions to succeed. That’s, that’s the bottom line for me. 

Matt: So part of that scheme is also what the front seven are doing. And if they’re not getting home with just the. now you’re trying different packages of blitzing to get to the quarterback before he has the ability to get rid of the ball accurately and down the field to take advantage of our secondary.

And it looked like that’s what they were trying to do all the time against Seattle because they know what they have back is not good enough and they’re trying whatever they can use and who they think are the better guys on their defense, which is the defensive line to get home on the quarterback before he has the ability to really.

It clearly didn’t work. But if you’re not getting home with your normal pass rush of four, and now you gotta bring more guys into blitz, which put the secondary guys even more of an island, I just don’t, I don’t know how we find an answer with the personnel that we have. I just think it doesn’t matter what scheme you do, the guys that we have are not good enough.

And until they are replaced with guys who are good enough, this is where the defense is gonna be no matter what scheme you throw.

AJ: Well, yeah, but there’s, at this point, what do you have to lose to mix things up? Who knew that Frank Kaminski being out was gonna be, as big of a blow as it has been? Right. That’s obviously a huge loss for us. But one thing that I noted in the pre-season that I really appreciated was when we were talking about Aidan Hutchinson.

The fact that they were moving him along the defensive line. He wasn’t just a seven nine technique consistently. They had him moved inside and were, and there’s no wrinkles happening at all. And at this point in the season, when you are the worst defense in the NFL and potentially the worst defense in NFL history, what do you have to lose to, to reimagine like scheme, to reimagine plans to, to shift guys along you got Charles Harrison and Aidan Hutchinson opposite each other.

 how do we mix that up? Maybe we take in Romeo Okwara and put him opposite Hutchinson and get somebody else for Harrison and really create like these different type of matchups. Because Aidan Hutchinson, he goes invisible because he gets double teamed.

But the fact is when you’re getting double teamed, that should open up lanes for somebody else and those guys just aren’t taking advantage. The other guys along those lines are not taking advantage of it. And so at a certain point, you’ve gotta find a way to either create an opportunity for Hutchinson to not be double teamed or get guys in position that can take advantage of Hutchinson being double teamed.

There was one moment in that game, man. I don’t know if you caught it, but one moment in that game where we, our scheme led to Seattle finding a way to. DK Metcalf on Okwara in coverage like that is a huge problem. And I was telling Eric, I’m Beyond The Box last night, I said, Listen, if I was a play caller, I’d be circling that play in the brightest color.

I could circle it in and come back to it four or five times. If I know that I can get DK on Okwara, like that’s a scheme issue. That’s a problem In what? I don’t even have words for that. That’s how bad that is. 

No, the offense is saying we know what the defense is gonna.

It’s not a good look for the defense. It definitely is not a good look for the defense. 

No, it, but it. But who’s responsible for the defense? It’s not a good look for the defensive coordinator when the opposing running back’s going. We got bad looks. We took advantage of bad looks. Right. Like that. That’s a problem.

Matt: Yeah., there are a lot of surprising factors in this. How successful they were with the run game. Like an awe bro. Well, that’s the thing though. Geno Smith with our defense, every quarterback has that ability, especially if they have some mobility with their ability. Geno Smith has that mobility with his ability, and we’ve seen how bad we are when a quarterback can escape. But back to. I understand, but it also comes, it also goes back to the lack of talent.

AJ: And you’ve got, It does go back to lack of talent, but when you’re putting guys on islands and man coverage and they got their back turned to the quarterback cuz they’re covering a receiver and that lane opens up for a quarterback to run.

That’s why they got beat against Jalen Hurts. That’s why they got beat against Geno Smith is because they, their scheme was bad. That man coverage. I’m telling you this is not a man coverage team, and they made that switch at the beginning of this year where they went from like a 4, 2, 5 big nickel to a four three, like a traditional base, four three.

So they could get more linebackers on the field. Well, guess what? When your line backing core is the weakest part of your defense and you’ve built a scheme around having more bad linebackers on the on the field, that’s a problem.

 Get me more athletic guys that are a little bit faster. Go back to the nickel. Put Rodriguez in the middle at linebacker. Let Anzalone cover punts. I don’t care cuz he’s trash. and get to a better scheme. 

Matt: Well, I think all of our linebackers are trash when it comes to coverage. 

AJ: You gotta put guys in position to succeed. Malcolm grades out quite well in coverage. In coverage. Like that guy’s a gym in the sticks route.

Matt: Yeah, he’s not bad. He’s not bad. I have to see those numbers because I’ve watched him in coverage and that’s where he gets beat. Like when I see him beat, it’s in coverage.

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