ALLEN PARK — After another subpar defensive performance in the sixth loss of the season on Sunday, the Lions fired defensive backs coach and defensive pass game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant on Monday.
“I think Aubrey is a hell of a coach, I have a ton of respect for him. It was a tough decision but we’re in a production based business and after seven weeks I felt like this change needed to be made,’’ coach Dan Campbell said. “I wish him the best of luck and I appreciate everything — he put his heart and soul into everything he did.’’
He will be replaced by Brian Duker, who has served as the safeties coach. Addison Lynch, who has been the defensive quality control coach, will also be involved.
“Both of those guys will take on a substantial role with the defensive backs. We’ll see where that goes,’’ Campbell said.
Campbell said it wasn’t one particular incident in the 31-27 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday that led to the firing. “It’s all encompassing after seven weeks, it’s where we’re at. There again I think something needed to change,’’ Campbell said.
After the game he blamed the coaches (including himself) and the defensive players for not following the game plan they had drawn up specific to the Dolphins. The Lions gave up 382 passing yards in the loss to Miami.
Detroit’s defense, which gives up 421.3 yards per game, has been the worst in the NFL through the 1-6 start.
Moving forward without Pleasant, Campbell wants to see everyone on the same page. “And if we’re going to get beat it’s because we’re getting outrun or we’re not quite in phase but at least we’re kind of there. We have to cut our mentals (mental mistakes) in half,’’ Campbell said.
Campbell said he thought about the move last night and decided to go with it on Monday morning.
“(Firings are) brutal, they’re the worst, it’s the worst part of this job. He’s got a family. There again he put everything he had into this,’’ Campbell said. “I still believe he’s a helluva coach. Sometimes things just don’t work out. Absolutely, I see him getting another opportunity and continuing to grow and climb again at some point, somewhere.’’
Pleasant was hired as the Lions’ defensive backs coach/pass game coordinator on Jan. 28, 2021.
(Next up: The Lions (1-6) face the Green Bay Packers (3-5) at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Ford Field.)