As we begin to piece together what we expect from the Detroit Lions defense in 2021, the coaching staff remains exceptionally transparent in their efforts. Just a week ago, head coach Dan Campbell confirmed our early suspicions that Detroit’s base defense would resemble a 3-4 front. Now Aaron Glenn has provided a little more clarity on what the Lions plan to do at the second level.
Glenn held a Zoom meeting with the fellas over at The Athletic and broke down the play of free-agent addition Alex Anzalone from the 2020 season. In it, Glenn explained the things he liked about Anzalone’s game, things he’d like to see the veteran linebacker improve upon this year, and their overall expectations for the linebacking corps.
Particularly interesting was Glenn’s philosophy in run-fitting for linebackers. Rather than an over-aggressive downfield runner (“don’t just run into somebody”), he wants linebackers to utilize the “stack and fall back” strategy. This allows linebackers to be more patient, while the disrupters on the defensive front fill as many rushing gaps as possible. This not only explains some of the Lions’ draft picks (specifically, Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill), but it also allows the Lions to only allocate six men in the box to help their secondary.
“Don’t run into darkness,” Glenn explained. “You don’t want to take yourself out of the play. That make sense? We (want to) take all these gaps with our four bigs. And then these linebackers can stack and fall back.”
The entire thing is definitely worth a read, and the best part about it is that it’s just Part 1 of a four-part series. Keep an eye out for the rest over at The Athletic.
- Happy 21st birthday to Lions third-round pick Alim McNeill! Did he reveal his jersey number?
- To get you prepared for Wednesday’s schedule release, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press has five Lions games to watch (subscribers only.)
- Speaking of the schedule release, the Lions teased their’s with a computer theme:
Tune in tomorrow at 7:30pm ET for our 2021 Schedule Reveal Show presented by Lions Experiences ❗️ pic.twitter.com/5Oyd1hc4HU— Detroit Lions (@Lions) May 11, 2021
- ESPN’s new Lions beat writer Eric Woodyard had an exclusive interview with tight end T.J. Hockenson, who definitely seems more comfortable around this coaching staff. Here’s a clip from the interview:
Watch my interview with Lions Pro Bowl TE T.J. Hockenson as he is preparing for a bigger role on and off the field this year.— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) May 11, 2021
“I love those diehards,” @TheeHOCK8 said of Lions fans. pic.twitter.com/FKkLcAd3cD
- Justin Rogers of the Detroit News has a Lions mailbag that offers his early thoughts on the Lions’ running game, record expectations for 2021, and players who could improve this upcoming season.