Jeff Okudah mostly had a good 2022 season before fading late, and Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn wants to see better from him.
For a big chunk of the 2022 season, Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah played quite well. He had a big role in shutting down some very good receivers, and was a force against the run. After two injury-riddled seasons to start his career, he responded to the pressure easily placed on him to play well.
But as it got later in the season, Okudah started to struggle. He suffered a concussion in Week 11, which cost him Week 12 (Thanksgiving Day) on a short week. Then an illness clearly limited him in Week 14, then he struggled in coverage for a couple games, was benched in Week 17 and missed Week 18 with an injury.
Aaron Glenn expecting more from Jeff Okudah next season
Via Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required), Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn noted the need for Okudah to improve (be more consistent) next season. He also noted his understanding of the ups and downs of playing cornerback, as a former corner in the NFL himself.
"He has to improve,” Glenn said. “I will say that, along with everybody else on our defense. And he knows that, and he did improve. But there is always going to be peaks and valleys when you play that position. You try to stay at the top as much as you can. But it’s hard. It’s hard. But I’ll tell you what, he is busting his butt. His trying his butt off to be at that top of the peak all the time.”"
Regardless of if the Lions pick up his fifth-year option, 2023 is another big season in Okudah’s career. Will he build on the good things from last season? Or was the late fade a sign of what’s to come? The Lions are trying to find answers at cornerback, and the jury is still out on Okudah being one of them going forward.