Whenever there is a regime change, the new staff makes some adjustments to the practice facility and we can see that in Allen Park this year. Gone are the skinny goal posts, there are guidelines in the endzone to help running backs develop muscle memory when breaking through the offensive line, and the ATV has been repurposed as an equipment hauler. Among the key pieces of technology that the ATV moves around are two large television screens that the team uses to watch replays of what is happening on the field.
The Detroit Lions have cameras all over the field and they send a live feed to an editing tent that relays the feed to the television on roughly a 10-second delay. The screen displays two angles, one from the sideline and another from behind the offense. Coaches and players can watch the play on the field and then turn their attention to a television to get an immediate look at the play they just ran.
Twice at Saturday’s (Training camp Day 4) practice, after the completion of an 11-on-11 period, defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant sprinted over to the editing tent and asked them to cue up one of the previous plays.
In the first instance, Pleasant wanted a better look at a run where the offense sealed the edge, allowing the back to get to the outside and up the field. He called over defensive line coach Todd Wash and the pair dissected what went wrong and how to make an adjustment. Their conversation caught the attention of coach Dan Campbell who went over and checked in to see if he could help and the trio chatted for a brief moment before returning to practice.
In the second instance, Pleasant, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and linebacker Jamie Collins went over to relook at a play that resulted in a touchdown. On the play, Collins got caught up in the wash, allowing T.J. Hockenson a free release for the score. The group quickly identified the flaw in the play, made an adjustment, took some notes, and went right back into the action.
This coaching staff has been very deliberate with how they spend their time on the field, as the NFL limits how long they can practice, but when they recognize a teachable moment, they seize the opportunity to make a correction—especially Pleasant.
“He is a hell of a teacher,” Campell said of Pleasant on Day 3 on training camp. “He is engaging, he’s thorough, he’s interactive, he’s energetic, he’s vibrant, he gets it. There’s a reason why he’s good at what he does, and he’s coached some good players and developed good talent.”
Time is definitely precious during practice, but it’s also about how you use it. Pleasant and the rest of Campbell’s staff are using their time and resources as a coaching tool, rather than just an opportunity to get the players in shape.