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‘I’m fired up’: Aaron Glenn’s positive attitude infectious as Lions attempt culture shift

“We’re going to coach our butts off in whatever we want to do.”

Buffalo Bills v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

One of the storylines you’ll hear over and over in 2021 is how the Detroit Lions are attempting (yet another) culture change.

While winning games creates team cohesion and a positive atmosphere, losing games over and over can obviously have the opposite effect. Blame gets thrown around, it breeds distrust and soon things can become very toxic. The Lions are no strangers to losing.

Looking at the most recent stretch of losing, the Quinntricia era, this seemed to create a particularly bad culture. There seemed to be little transparency, and I love referencing Mike Payton’s article where he explains the Lions were suffering from the “Smartest Man in the Room” syndrome, meaning the former regime felt as if everything was fine and both fans and media were overblowing the systemic issues surrounding the football team. Former players have made both subtle and not-so-subtle references to not enjoying playing under Matt Patricia.

So that’s why bringing in a guy who is already firing up a fan base talking about bitin’ kneecaps and another guy talking about serving the city of Detroit what they actually deserve is a breath of fresh air to Lions fans. We’ve seen plenty of quotes from Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes, but there are other leaders on the team pushing toward a new culture.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn expressed a genuine love for the game not often seen in the past few years as he spoke on preparing for the season opener on Sunday.

“Every day is a big moment for me,” he said. “I don’t care if we’re playing a pee wee football team because this is what I love to do. Every day it’s a blessing for me to come out onto the grass and be around the players, be with you guys, be able to call plays — you can’t get better than that.”

This year Glenn is making the shift from coaching a secondary unit to the more big-picture role that is defensive coordinator. He says he’s making sure to effectively communicate just what his expectations are from the coaches under him, but he’s also looking for their input and perspectives too — all so they can end up on the same page.

“That’s the one thing we do a really good job of, with the defensive staff, we have really good dialogue. I tell those guys — once we leave this room, regardless of the opinions, we leave this room on one accord,” Glenn said.

“We’re going to coach our butts off in whatever we want to do.”

Communication? Teamwork? These sound like good foundations of a football team to me. On facing the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday: “Our guys are looking forward to this challenge. I am. I’m fired up. I’m fired up about it,” Glenn said.

You might be one of those fans saying, “Yeah, yeah, you’re all talk, you better back it up.” That’s fair, but talk is all we have so far — and I’m already digging the positive nature of this talk.

And onto the rest of your notes.

  • The fellas at The Athletic put together a nice summarizing piece on what we learned about the Lions during training camp and preseason, and what questions still linger. (Subscription required.)

  • If you’re downtown Detroit today, check out this family event from 4 to 7 p.m. across from Campus Martius at the Monroe Street Midway.

  • Marvin Jones Jr. is doing well over on the Jaguars — he’s been named a team captain: