Detroit Lions change in defensive philosophy is welcome
By Robert Jones
Go get the quarterback
Now we haven’t had all the details of the Lions’ new defense revealed other than the usage of the coach speak that they’ll be ‘multi-dimensional. That doesn’t really define whether the base defense will be a 3-4 or 4-3 or any other further information.
However, despite our guesses that Aaron Glenn will run a base 3-4 defense due to the fact that he has mostly played in or been an assistant coach in that scheme, we know Dan Campbell and his staff want to be flexible.
One other thing we know is that Dan Campbell believes that knocking the opposing quarterback around like they’re a pinata is mandatory for good defense.
When the Lions recently signed former first-round pick Charles Harris to help bolster the pass-rush, principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp had a message for him.
The message was simple: Go get the quarterback.
Now in fairness to Matt Patricia, it wasn’t like the Lions didn’t attempt to rush opposing passers in his time here, but his system was more predicated on the play of the linebackers and secondary in space.
When the defensive line is inept and can’t get to the quarterback, and you refuse to blitz to help them, that pretty much opens the floodgates for the opposing offense.
So as we look towards this upcoming season, can Dan Campbell’s staff turn this defense around in short order?
Based on the components, it always seemed like the Lions could have been almost average, if not completely average if they hadn’t been mismanaged by Patricia and his staff. But now we need to see how the additions and subtractions stack up.
If Brad Holmes can get at least two blue-chip players in the draft that can contribute positively to this defense from the start, then it is possible to see a dramatic improvement on that side of the ball.
Not dramatic as in becoming the second coming of the Steel Curtain, but dramatic as in playing at an average level. Getting multiple stops in a game instead of over the course of the whole season. Sure those are baby steps, but the point of the first year of a rebuild is to be headed in the right direction.
No one knows for sure how the Lions will fare this fall, but to see some aggressiveness on defense after three seasons of allowing opposing offenses to do whatever they wanted should be considered exciting. Even if they aren’t good at it.
The point is that this a new era. The Dan Campbell/Brad Holmes era will be predicated on hard-work, toughness, and physicality. Given more talent over the next couple of seasons, it could be what all the fans have prayed for. But one way or another it certainly should be a contrast to what we saw for the last three years. Especially on defense.