Many have said that Detroit Lions soon-to-be head coach Dan Campbell will be defined by his coordinator hires. And he’s reportedly off to a good start.
While Campbell’s hire has yet to be confirmed, reports have already surfaced on the defensive coordinator he’ll be bringing with him. According to Ian Rapoport, Campbell is hiring Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn. Rapoport says the Lions are closing in on a deal, but it’s expected to get done.
Glenn is a long-time cornerback in the league, playing for 15 years and earning three All-Pro nods during the late 90s, early 00s. After some time as an NFL scout, Glenn shifted to a coaching career. He’s been a quick riser first as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Browns, before landing with the Saints in 2016—the same year as Dan Campbell. There, he’s spent the past five years as the Saints DB coach, helping young players like Marshon Lattimore becomes the stars they are today.
As our own Ryan Mathews wrote earlier on Tuesday, Glenn is widely considered to be an up-and-comer. He even interviewed for a head coaching job during this cycle of hirings. It’s easy to see why after looking at how impressive New Orleans’ secondary was this year.
In the 2020 season, the Saints’ pass defense ranked fifth in yards allowed per game (217.0), sixth in yards allowed per pass play (6.7), fourth in interception rate (3.23%), and maybe most impressively, second in the NFL in completion percentage allowed (59.8%). As a unit, the Saints ranked third in pass defense DVOA in 2020 (-14.7%) and you’re beginning to understand the imprint Glenn has had on the Saints’ secondary.
There is obviously an inherent risk in hiring Glenn, seeing as he’s never been a defensive coordinator. And there is something to be said about the Lions hiring a lot of inexperienced coaches this time around.
However, this is being widely considered as a big win for the Lions. You can read more about Glenn in this fantastic profile from The Athletic.
UPDATE: According to Josina Anderson, Glenn is considering the Lions and two other teams. It appears a deal may not be as imminent as previously reported:
UPDATE 2: The Lions are the “clear favorite” to land Glenn according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler: