After the success they had with it last year, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn should be dialing up blitzes plenty again this season.
Defensive improvement, most notably against the run besides one awful game, helped fuel the Detroit Lions winning eight of their last 10 games last season. A remodeled secondary this offseason will improve a dismal pass defense, and open up how defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn can do things.
Glenn has authored a top-12 blitz rate in the league in both of his season as the Lions' defensive coordinator--12th in 2021 (27.3 percent) and seventh last year (31.2 percent). The wisdom of that kind of strategy, given the Lions' lack of depth in the secondary and broader struggles against the pass, could be questioned. But barring an unprecedented set to major injuries this year, secondary depth is not an issue for the Lions this year.
Detroit Lions should be blitzing plenty again this year
In his set of "5 numbers the Lions keep up" this year, team website writer Tim Twentyman had this one.
"2. Number: 77.4
What it means: Opponent passer rating when blitzed
NFL rank: 2nd"
Only the New Orleans Saints (72.3) had a better passer rating against when blitzing last year. Twentyman, with a difference source for blitz percentage than Pro Football Reference (probably Pro Football Focus) added some context.
"Detroit allowed six touchdowns while picking off six passes and sacking opposing quarterbacks 15 times when they blitzed.- Tim Twentyman, Lions.com
This is an important statistic for two reasons. One, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn blitzed the sixth highest percentage in the NFL last season. If that's going to be part of the defensive repertoire, they need to be good at it. "
Twentyman noted how the Lions have linebackers and defensive backs who are effective blitzers, which plays into Glenn's propensity to send extra people. And now, they've got more players in the back end to allow Glenn to be more confident in (and have more options for) doing so. So if anything, Glenn could find room to blitz a little more this year.