Sunday’s breakout performance from the Detroit Lions secondary can be attributed to several things. Maybe the firing of defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant lit a fire underneath that position group. Maybe the team’s player-only meeting hammered out some of the communication issues facing the secondary. Maybe defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn’s increased presence in the position room helped communicate that week’s game plan a little clearer. Or maybe Aaron Rodgers just sucked.
But it’s also impossible to ignore that Detroit also made a few key personnel changes for the Week 9 game against the Green Bay Packers. Safety DeShon Elliott was back after missing a week, Will Harris shifted inside to nickel, and cornerback Jerry Jacobs saw the most action on defense since last year.
Jacobs is particularly interesting, because while he didn’t start the game—those honors went to Mike Hughes—but he did play an integral role against the Packers. He played 61 percent of the snaps, and on the four times Rodgers targeted him, he allowed exactly zero receptions, per PFF (although he was called for pass interference once, and quite possibly got away with another). Hughes, who played 53 percent of snaps, held his own, too. He allowed just a single reception for 18 yards.
After the game, coach Dan Campbell praised both players, along with Harris.
“So, I thought (Hughes) looked really well on the edge on the perimeter and so did Jerry,” Campbell said. “And that was the plan to work Jerry in as well and let those guys play. And we like both of them and we love Will at the nickel. Man, he really stepped in there and played well. You guys know Will’s our Swiss army knife. Man, he can do a lot of things for us. We needed him to play nickel and I thought he really stepped up and played a physical game, run and pass.”
So where does that leave the Lions going forward? Will Hughes man the outside or has Jacobs already assumed No. 2 cornerback duties opposite Jeff Okudah? Does Amani Oruwariye stand a chance to play again, or has he started his last game as a Detroit Lions?
That’s one of our main topics on today’s mid-week mailbag podcast.
Other topics this week include:
- Who deserves credit for Lions defensive back performance vs. Packers (2:00)
- Can this defense stop Justin Fields’ rushing attack? (7:15)
- Any hope for acquiring Lamar Jackson in 2023? (13:00)
- How will the Lions use their current roster spot? (19:00)
- Was Kerby Joseph’s performance a surprise? (23:30)
- Will the Lions offense bounce back vs. the Bears? (28:40)
- Any concern for Jameson Williams’ long injury timeline? (32:10)
- Confident in Brad Holmes’ free agency skills? (36:00)
Check out the show below:
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