Aaron Glenn Reveals Plan to Help Combat Lions’ Defensive Struggle

Aaron Glenn

Getty Aaron Glenn talks to Dan Campbell during a 2022 Lions game.

The Detroit Lions‘ defense was pushed around in ugly fashion in Week 16, and that has led to many questions about that side of the ball this week.

Have the Lions regressed? Are they poised for a tough finish to the year as a result of what played out? Is their confidence now waining ahead of a critical rumble with the Chicago Bears?

None of that noise matters to defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. This season, Glenn has been in the trenches with his players and has dealt with the highs and lows. As he explained to the media on Thursday, December 29, this was not a week to bring panic, but rather reflection.

“You remind them of who we are and what we’ve been doing and (remind them), you know what, it happened. This is NFL and things like this happen,” Glenn told the media. “Do you want it to happen? No, but we have a bunch of young guys that have to understand they got to keep their confidence exactly where it was as far as playing really good defense. We got to continue to move in that direction.”

Thus Glenn, who’s been known to bring the fire in plenty of ways, is steady as she goes this week. He isn’t causing a scene or losing his temper, but rather choosing to try and find solutions to problems.

“I can easily sit here or in the meeting room and yell and rant about this one game. The thing is, we have to move past it and understand exactly what we’ve been doing and go in that direction,” he said.

Finding fixes to problems is the biggest way to get out of the hole. No amount of being frustrated is going to fix the problems, so credit to Glenn for having a measured response and being solution-motivated this week.

Glenn: Lions’ Week 16 Gashing ‘Uncharacteristic’

Putting on the tape of the game shows why Glenn and anyone else has right to be concerned. The Panthers gashed the Lions repeatedly on the afternoon, and Detroit offered little resistance.

On the first drive of the game, the Panthers ran right up the middle against Detroit, and the drive culminated in an option touchdown pitch that the Lions just didn’t look ready for at all.

As the day wore on, things got no better for the Lions. They even allowed Sam Darnold to rush for a touchdown in the red zone early in the game, which got things on the wrong track for the team.

It wasn’t just Darnold causing them havoc though. The Lions allowed the Panthers to have a pair of 100 yard rushers in D’Onta Foreman (165 yards) and Chuba Hubbard (125 yards). Safe to say, this cannot happen again in Week 17 if the Lions want to survive again.

For his part, Glenn said on Thursday that he is optimistic about where things are trending for Detroit given how the Lions have practiced and what has been emphasized.

“Execution, technique, assignment. Just a number of things involved in that situation and we talked about them. We had a really good practice yesterday, we’re gonna have a good practice (Thursday) and we’re going to move forward because that’s the one thing that we’ve been pretty good at is playing run defense dating back to the Giants game. This was very uncharacteristic of our players to have a game like this and I don’t expect a game like this to ever happen again,” he said flatly.

Certainly, the hope is this horrible performance was a one-time deal for the Lions.

Glenn Reveals Lions’ Key to Slow Bears

Moving on from a tough loss to Carolina is going to be a challenge for the Lions, and that’s not just because of how the loss could linger in the locker room or potential injury issues this week.

Glenn now has to prepare for a Chicago team that rushes for 179 yards per-game, and has the best rushing attack in the NFL behind the legs of quarterback Justin Fields. It’s a unique challenge to say the least.

Will the Lions look to other teams and try to impart what those squads have done to slow the Bears down? Glenn said that’s going to be part of the equation the team works from.

“You do that to a certain extent, because everybody has different players too. So sometimes in the outside world, people say that but they don’t take everything in consideration. As a coach, as a player, you understand that. No one else understands that, but you do really do that,” Glenn said. “I think that’s a smart thing to do is see how other teams have attacked them and you try to fit your players and your scheme to be able to do some of those things. You can’t go so far out of what you do to try to emulate another team.”

As Detroit gets assists in the film room, Chicago has some of their own issues on offense with injuries and inconsistencies. Even such, Glenn understands what has to happen for the Lions to have success. Discipline is the name of of the game overall.

“They have some injuries they’re dealing with at the receiver spot, but the elements of what they do and how they operate is still there. Especially when you have that quarterback who’s able to make plays with his feet and has the arm talent to get the ball down the field,” Glenn said. “We got to mind our p’s and q’s. We cannot be undisciplined as far as our alignments, our assignments and then especially the technique on how we played that guy from the first time.”

Glenn is putting things together to make sure the Lions defense doesn’t have a similar breakdown this week. On the whole, he seems to be confident in that not playing out again.

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