ALLEN PARK — When Detroit Lions training camp opens Thursday morning, Paul Pasqualoni will continue his search for a unicorn.
In discussing the challenges of creating an effective defense against quality tight ends, the Lions defensive coordinator mentioned he’s looking for a multi-dimensional defenseman or a unicorn.
“You are trying to disguise it and you are also trying to come up with this guy on your defense who is almost like a Unicorn defined, who can be a good run defender but at the same time go over and matchup with one for these (tight ends),’’ Pasqualoni said on Wednesday. “It becomes hard to find that guy and then it becomes hard to disguise those looks because eventually you have to declare what you are doing. You’re right. It just makes it hard on the game plan.’’
In training camp he’ll set out to define the skill set of each player. Many of them he’s familiar with from last season.
“So, you’re looking for that guy who can be tough as hell, support the run, have linebacker qualities, and at the same time is athletic and fast enough where he can cover either a wide receiver or one of these crafty tight ends that we’re putting up with more or more this day and age,’’ Pasqualoni said.
Now going all the way back — 20 years ago or however long ago that was — coaches, general managers, personnel people in the NFL were looking for that guy,’’ Pasqualoni said. “Long way of telling you, we’re going to work our way through preseason camp and try to find out who those people are.’’
He wouldn’t name names but says he likes his safeties. Quandre Diggs or Tracy Walker could be the unicorn he is seeking.
“We’ve added a few guys. So, again now, we’re just starting preseason camp. I think we’re in a good position, everybody’s in a good position,” Pasqualoni said. “We had a good offseason program. We put ourselves in position to have a good day one, that’s where we are, we take it one day at a time. I don’t look beyond that because it’s just too much to look beyond that.’’