Cory Undlin Describes Expectations for Lions Defense in 2020

Cory Undlin

Getty Cory Undlin works with the Eagles.

Cory Undlin hasn’t been the defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions for long, but already, the coach knows exactly what he wants his defense to look like on the field.

Speaking during the Senior Bowl to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, Undlin was asked what he wants to see in his new team, and while he couldn’t divulge too much yet, he did outline some parameters.

“I’ll tell you when we kick off game one,” Undlin joked when asked. “I would say this, sound, tough, and we’re going to play as fast as we possibly can. In a nutshell.”

This week, Undlin and the Lions have gotten to know tons of prospects during the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Undlin told Pelissero that the process of being with the players has been the best part for him and the staff as they get set to make their draft board for April.

“The more you can be around these kids, watch ’em work. Obviously we get to see the tape, watch ’em practice,” he said. “I think probably more important for us, is having the opportunity to be around them in the meetings, on the bus, watching them walk around and interact with them that way, so it’s been good.”

As for traits he’s looking for in his next Lions players, Undlin said

“Probably the most obvious would be on time, on top of their stuff,” he said. “Are they showing up with some intent to get better? Are they organized? Do they have their stuff prepared? Are they attentive in the meetings, asking good questions? All that stuff.”

Obviously, Undlin has hit the ground running in terms of scouting and also understanding what he wants for his defense moving forward.

Matt Patricia on Cory Undlin’s Hire

Joining Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network on his RapSheet + Friends podcast, Patricia was asked about the hire of Undlin and provided his first comments since the move was revealed. The coach explained that while their relationship dates back, he’s been very happy to watch Undlin’s growth from afar in recent years.

“Well Cory and I worked together a long time ago at New England. Started off together there and just really have had a very close friendship, bond, coaching, kind of bouncing ideas off each other,” Patricia said. “Certainly someone who I’ve respected a long time. His work ethic, what he’s been able to do throughout the course of his coaching career, most recently being in Philadelphia and what he’s was able to do there.”

Patricia saw Undlin win a Super Bowl with the Eagles, develop talent there and has followed his career from afar. This helped him to know what a good fit he would be within his own coaching staff for 2020.

“I knew that he’ll be a great addition to our staff in terms of how he thinks, how he looks at the game, the way that he coaches,” Patricia said. “Definitely one of those guys that a lot of people may not know about who aren’t in the coaching world, but people that coach in the NFL and coach defense know what a great coach he is, what a great person he is and how hard he works. His reputation kind of speaks for itself.”

While there isn’t said to be a plan as it relates to who will call the plays just yet, it’s clear that Patricia sees positives with how Undlin can work with the team’s defense and fit in with the squad.

Cory Undlin Biography

As Patricia referenced, Undlin broke into the league in 2004 with the New England Patriots as a coaching assistant, which is how he got to know his new boss and the other members of the staff. He joined the Cleveland Browns as an assistant coach from 2005-2008, coaching in a few roles there including assistant special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach.

From there, Undlin spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2009-2011 as a defensive assistant and a defensive backs coach. He moved on to the Denver Broncos as a defensive quality control coach and defensive backs coach until 2014. After that, he joined the Philadelphia Eagles as defensive backs coach, a post he held through the end of 2019.

Undlin’s only coordinating experience came at little-known California Lutheran in 2000-2001 just before he made the jump to Fresno State as a graduate assistant.

Over the years, Undlin has worked with a number of solid defensive backs in the NFL, which should give hope to the fact that he could do a solid job with those same players in Detroit.

Obviously, his description of what the team will look like matches with what plenty of fans will want to hear heading into 2020.

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