‘Trust Your Teammates:’ Lions Veteran Has Plea for Improved Defense

DeShon Elliott

Getty DeShon Elliott on the field with the Lions in 2022.

The Detroit Lions have major problems on defense, and after a frustrating loss in Week 4, all anyone can focus on is what has to happen for a turnaround to take hold.

Detroit head coach Dan Campbell has promised changes in personnel and scheme but stuck with his staff. No matter what the staff does, the players are the ones in between the lines who have to take ownership and make plays.

So how do they see a change playing out? Safety DeShon Elliott was asked about this on Monday, October 3. As he said, the Lions have to find a way for each player to understand and do their job first and foremost before they can worry about improvements as a whole.

“Everyone taking accountability, you doing your job and as you do your job, everything else should play out for the most part. We just gotta do our job, man. You can’t try to do someone else’s job. Get better, trust your teammates and once you get that knocked down, I feel like we’ll be a lot better on defense,” Elliott explained.

Specifically, Elliott made a call to his teammates. As he said, all of them need to understand what they have to do first so they can begin to play more confidently as a group.

“It literally comes down to you just doing what you got to do, bro. Believe me, you’re believing in your brother. Once you believe in your teammates, I feel like it’ll calm your mind,” he said. “If I know he’s gonna be there, I don’t have to worry about what he’s doing or what I’m doing. That’s what I think guys need to do. When you cut that tape on, you gotta look in there first and try to figure out where can I be better, right? What can I do better? The rest should follow.”

Finding a way to get more cohesion and better understanding, according to Elliott, is a big goal for the defense. Once this plays out, the team might be way better in the end.

The Lions will have to see if they can put that together in the coming weeks from a player standpoint.

Campbell: Lions Defense Not Confident

In terms of the staff, what does Campbell think the Lions need to do on defense? As he said, it’s time for the team to get back to the basics and manufacture some confidence, which the team is lacking.

“I know this, we lack confidence. That’s very clear to see,” he said. “That’s one element to it. We lack a lot of confidence, and so certainly to do that you have to have production in games and have success and stop your opponents, get some stops, things of that nature. We’re lacking some confidence in areas and then there again, we’re still making errors which falls into our boat as coaches. That’s on us.”

Specifically, what does Campbell mean about confidence? He doesn’t see the team having any kind of swag on one side of the ball.

“I just don’t feel our swagger, you know?,” Campbell said of the defense.

It’s clear the Lions lack everything on defense mentally and physically, and changes have to take hold. Perhaps Elliott is right, and swagger and confidence can come once players begin to trust their teammates better.

Elliott Becoming Durable Defender for Lions

If the Lions end up turning things around, Elliott will likely be a big reason why that is the case. So far, he’s off to a great start for the team statistically,

Thus far this season, Elliott has posted 28 tackles, already a total that eclipses what he was able to put up in 2021 with the Baltimore Ravens (23 tackles). More than that, he’s been a mainstay at a possession that has seen the loss of Tracy Walker as well as the shuffling of other players in and out.

During his NFL career, Elliott has seen a lot with a veteran defense, and has played through injuries of his own as well as others. Now, he’s an elder-statesman at a position of need for the Lions. It’s on the team to heed his advice and find a way to come together on the defensive side of the ball.

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