Detroit Lions defensive line coach Todd Wash talks about remade defensive line

Lions defensive line coach Todd Wash during the second half of the Lions' 37-30 win over the Packers on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at Ford Field.
Lions defensive line coach Todd Wash during the second half of the Lions' 37-30 win over the Packers on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at Ford Field. /

The Detroit Lions defensive got pushed around often last season, but defensive line coach Todd Wash has pointed to changes coming.

The Detroit Lions defense, quite frankly, was bad all-around last season. Sacks, deeper pass rush metrics, takeaways, run defense, you name it, it was pretty much in the bottom part of the league. After adding Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Paschal in the draft the defensive line depth is better, and defensive line coach Todd Wash said as much to Mike O’Hara of the team website.

“We’re going to have some really good depth,” defensive line coach Todd Wash said. “We got exactly what we wanted out of this draft.”

The Lions plan to mix in more defensive fronts with four-down lineman this year. It’s a clear effort to be more multiple and unpredictable, and given the mediocre state of the linebackiing corps having fewer of them on the fielding in a 4-2-5 deployment is a good idea.

Todd Wash talks fit for Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Paschal, change in mentality

Wash talked about how Hutchinson fits in the new philosophy.

“We had Hutchinson extremely high in the draft process,” Wash said. “We feel he was the most ready to play. We’re going to put him at the rush position in our base. Then he can play either defensive end in the sub package.

“We changed a lot of our philosophy up front. It’s going to get us more attacking. He’s got the ability to play either end spot.”

Hutchinson played nearly the same amount of snaps on the strong and weaksides last year at Michigan (385 and 372 respectively, h/t to Pride of Detroit). That versatility is ideal for the Lions.

As for Paschal, Wash talked about his versatility too.

“We’re going to play him at 5 (outside the tackle) in base,” Wash said.

Paschal played at about 270 pounds at Kentucky. Wash sees him possibly bulking up to 275 or 280.

“We see him possibly going to tackle at some point,” Wash said. “Paschal is a guy who can play inside and outside. He could be that disruptive three technique if he’s big enough to handle it in there. He has great flexibility.”

Wash added sentiment about a change in mode for his unit in 2022.

“We were a read front last year. Now we’re attacking. We’re getting off the ball and playing at the heels of the offensive line. It’s going to have us be more physical and aggressive up front.”

Better talent in place is of course helpful. But the Lions defensive line is now set to press the issue against opposing offensive lines, rather than have things dictated to them.

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