Scheme changes by new head coach Matt Patricia could change the dynamic of the Detroit Lions’ linebacker corps in 2018. Let’s review this important positional group.
When the Detroit Lions name former New England Patroits defensive coordinator Matt Patricia their new head coach following his commitment in the Super Bowl, the biggest changes to come for the Motor City could be at the linebacker position.
The Lions’ linebacker corps is currently chock-full of young talent. But keeping a veteran presence within this unit will be important for Detroit’s front office to address this summer.
Let’s look over the Lions’ current roster of linebackers and try determine some of the changes Patricia and company might make in the coming weeks.
The Lions drafted themselves a quality defender in linebacker Jarrad Davis, who led all rookies with 96 combined tackles in 2017. As Detroit’s first round selection from last year, 21st overall, Davis represents a bright future at the position for the foreseeable future. He should also be a key piece for Patricia to start rebuilding this Motor City defense.
After posting arguably his best season as a professional in 2017, veteran linebacker Tahir Whitehead is currently a free agent. Leading the team with 110 total tackles this past season, Whitehead excelled following his move to the weakside. Although still a liability in coverage, I think it’s a must that the Lions re-sign the 27-year old linebacker who has racked up an incredible 238 tackles in his last two seasons.
Finally, the biggest changes within this linebacker corps are expected to come as a result of Patricia’s dynamic defensive schemes. The innovative coach likes to run multiple defensive sets, switching back and forth from the 4-3 to the 3-4, to match his opponent. That requires versatile personnel likely not on this current roster. I’d expect to see plenty of new names as part of this unit in the coming months.