Lions: Oruwariye’s benching sent a message to the team

Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn

ALLEN PARK — When Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye was benched for the game at New England, it sent a message to the team. Basically, compete or sit.

Oruwariye had started three of the first four games, missing the contest against the Commanders with a back injury.

Detroit’s passing defense allows 261.0 yards per game, that’s 26th in the NFL. Of course, that’s not all on Oruwariye but part of it is. Hence the decision was made to sit him.

“I think it’s important that you do that as far as a team because now it sends a message to everybody on offense and defense,’’ defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said. “This game is about competing at the highest level every time you have to earn your keep in this league, there are no free passes.’’

In Week 3, Oruwariye was whistled for six penalties against the Vikings, but cleaned that up in the Week 4 loss to the Seahawks.

“This game is hard, especially at that position. When you look at it, over the course of the season you hear people say setback. I just think he’s had a hard time,’’ Glenn said. “I think Amani is still Amani. I just think some of the situations he’s been in and some of the flags that he’s had has made people look at him in a different way.’’

Glenn said it’s important that the coaches help him so he can get back on the field.

“I’m not going to rag on Amani. I still have high hopes for that player, I still think that player has a chance to be a top corner in this league, we’re going to work our (butts) off to make sure of that,’’ Glenn said.

Last season, Oruwariye started 14 games and finished with a career-high six interceptions. He’s still looking for his first pick this season.

The coordinator said they’re going to put his feet to the fire. 

“That’s who we are as far as a defense, everyone has to compete, everybody has to go out there and pull their weight and he wasn’t at that time,’’ Glenn said. “With coach Dan (Campbell) and the staff we made the change and he’s going to compete and get his job back again.’’

Glenn is pleased with Oruwariye’s response to the benching. 

“With Dan being confident to make that decision, I think it really sent the message, I really do. It kind of reminds me of my days with coach (Bill) Parcells – he wasn’t afraid to do that. It taught me a lesson also that you can’t be afraid to make a decision, you live with it and move on even if you have outsiders say what you should do and what you shouldn’t do you be confident in your decision you move on and do what’s best for the team and that’s what Coach Campbell did.’’


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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