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Matt Patricia explains hiring of DC Cory Undlin, ST coordinator Brayden Coombs

Here’s why the Lions made their two coordinator hires this year.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia met with the media on Tuesday for the first time since hiring two new coordinators: defensive coordinator Cory Undlin and special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs. It was his first opportunity to explain his hirings and defend his choices, which have drawn a small amount of criticism.

You can watch Patricia’s full media session here, but here are the important tidbits about both Undlin and Coombs.

Defensive coordinator Cory Undlin

According to Patricia, one of the reasons he decided to bring Undlin in was his history. Patricia values coming up through the ranks, as it gives coaches a unique vantage point of every inch of the process of building at team.

“I think it’s important—certainly in the way that I was raised in the coaching system—to start at the bottom and work your way up and understand the details of all the little jobs, how that affects the big jobs and how that all puts together.”

Patricia also values the versatility that Undlin brings, having worked under several different schemes, which brings a much different—and coveted—point of view for Detroit’s defense.

“He does have a much different, I would say, experience than I do from defense, which is going to help everybody from that standpoint, and give us different ideas, different opinions, different philosophies, different techniques.”

Then, of course, there’s the familiarity. With both having worked alongside each other in New England for a year—and even sleeping overnight in the same office—there’s a certain level of comfort between the two, who have stayed close friends since then.

“Someone that I’ve known for a long time, so that’s a positive, too,” Patricia said of Undlin. “You’re trying to get familiarity with people to build the staff.”

Special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs

As for Coombs, Patricia actually said he’s had an eye on Coombs for a long time, as he’s been due for a raise after working alongside well-respected Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons for years.

“He’s been on the edge of being a coordinator for a while,” Patricia said. “Someone that I’ve had my eye on for a long time. Just finally had the opportunity to get him on board.”

Again, the hire also has a lot to do with familiarity. While the two have not worked together before, Patricia said that Coombs’ special teams scheme lines up philosophically with that of his.

“Really good young coach, who’s been in a similar system that I’m used to from a special teams terminology, and background, and philosophy,” Patricia said.

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