The Detroit Lions made a bit of a shocking midseason move this week, parting ways with defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant. The move comes after the Lions defense has struggled all season, but especially so on the back end. They’ve been hamstrung by injuries, but also by miscommunications and missed assignments. Whether or not that was Pleasant’s fault is something we may begin to learn Sunday against the Packers.
Question of the day: Are you expecting the defense to improve after the firing of Aubrey Pleasant?
My answer: A little bit, and probably not for long.
The firing of Aubrey Pleasant wasn’t due to lack of talent so much as inability for defensive backs to stick to their assignments in recent weeks. I don’t think the combination of Brian Duker, Addison Lynch, and Aaron Glenn will suddenly bring the level of play from the secondary up a tier.
However, firing someone lights a fire under everybody to know Dan Campbell isn’t playing games, so I think that will be a point of emphasis from everyone in the secondary Sunday. I fully expect DBs to fill gaps, show up in the run, and hold their own accordingly on Sunday. Once that happens for a few games, I’m sure things will taper down closer to the level of play the secondary has been at so far this season.
Luckily for the Lions, Jerry Jacobs is set to make his return to the field Sunday. Jacobs has always been a very smart player who sticks to his assignments and isn’t afraid to show up in run support. Depending on whether or not Jacobs look rusty, it could help make the coaching change look like a better move than it actually was.
All in all, I think things time out just right for an improvement this week, and maybe for a few weeks. However, I don’t expect the defense to suddenly be good by any means, and I’m sure as the season progresses the sense of urgency that they have from a fresh firing will wear off.