Embed from Getty Images A couple weeks ago the Detroit Lions brought in Cory Undlin from the Philadelphia Eagles as the teams new defensive coordinator. That news was met around the NFL and in the media at large as a solid hire. Needing to fill the linebacker’s coaching position the team then hit a home run and brought in Tyrone McKenzie.
With the two most important defensive coach’s positions filled, what is next? What does it mean for the toothless Detroit Lions defense? Can the two coach’s both widely viewed as very good at their jobs take the majority of players still on the roster and improve them?
The Detroit Lions linebackers were bad and well below average to just plain awful in pass coverage and did not provide much hope in general with their play. The one thing the unit did reasonably well was rushing the coverage on delayed blitz play calls.
In Cory Undlin, the Lions are getting a coach who understands man coverage, something Patricia loves. In Tyrone McKenzie, who comes to Detroit from the Tennessee Titans, the Lions are getting a coach who immediately got his players to provide a much bigger impact on the defense and overall improvement in their play.
The Tennessee Titans linebackers were the third best tackling linebackers in the NFL this past season. That is something that has sorely been lacking from the Lions defense for a while now.
The Lions do have a couple of linebackers who were drafted in the first and second round. Neither of them excel or are even okay at pass coverage, making that a priority in either free agency or the 2020 NFL draft.
So far, Matt Patricia has at the very least upgraded a couple defensive coach’s. He needs to leave them along and allow them to do what has made them and the players they coach successful. If that happens and the Lions bring in a coverage linebacker the defensive turn-around could be swift.