Lions’ defense faces personnel, scheme changes; Aaron Glenn safe

Lions coach Dan Campbell

ALLEN PARK — After a disastrous defensive showing in the loss to the Seahawks, coach Dan Campbell said he will make changes in personnel and scheme. 

Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn’s job is safe.

“I’m not afraid to make a hard decision, if I really believed that was the cause of it and I don’t believe it is. I believe Aaron Glenn is the man for the job and he gives us our best hope, our best option to run this defense,’’ Campbell said at his Monday presser.

At the end of last season, Campbell made the tough decision to fire offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.

The Lions defense gave up 555 yards in the 48-45 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday. It wasn’t just a bad day. The defense was ranked the worst in the NFL after the first three games. It’s an ongoing situation that was magnified on Sunday because the injury-depleted offense rose to the occasion.

Campbell wouldn’t offer specifics on the changes, saying he was still in conversations with Glenn.

“I think you’re looking at the totality of it, our FBI (football intelligence). We’ve got to get some players we feel like we can rely on, we can trust to get out there. Because once they’re trustworthy then their teammates will trust them,’’ Campbell said. “When you really watch it, the thing and I told these guys this, the thing that shows up over and over is a snowball effect.

“We have a guy who doesn’t do the right thing and the guy who knows what to do is trying to overcompensate for it and that’s costing him a step behind his job and then this guy is trying to cover for him and the next play they don’t trust that the teammate is going to be there and we’re in this vicious cycle right now,’’ Campbell added. “We have to pull things way, way back and get our confidence back and gain some trust among teammates. That comes with scheme, that comes with personnel, we’re going to work through it.’’

The problem is not just with the players or the coaches, they all share in the woes. Campbell admits his fingerprints are on the failures too.

The defense is playing without starting safety Tracy Walker who is out for the season after tearing his Achilles tendon. No excuse, though. The offense was playing Sunday without its top two playmakers in D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown.

Campbell did not talk name names, but was asked about rookie Aidan Hutchinson, the second overall pick, who had three sacks in the first half in the win against the Washington Commanders. He hasn’t had one since. 

“I think he’s come a long way, I think every week he’s getting a little bit better. He’s one of the players we need to look long and hard about. Do we need to move him in different spots to give him the opportunity to have more success?’’ Campbell said. “He did a lot of good things in the running game yesterday. I think he’s where our defense is right now — we’ve just got to improve and get a little better. I think we can all help each other. I’m certainly not disappointed in him.’’

One key is to not allow finger pointing which can tear apart a team.

Wide receiver Josh Reynolds was in this situation the first few years he was with the Los Angeles Rams and the offense was putting up points while the defense struggled.

“As the year goes on — we’ve got a long season — as the year goes on the defense starts finding their groove and figuring out how to play together,’’ Reynolds said. “That’s big for the defense you’ve got to trust the guy next to you.we’ve got to give them some time, let them figure it out, especially losing Tracy. They’ll figure it out and we’ll be clicking.’’

(Next up: Lions at New England Patriots, 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 9.)


Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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