Detroit Lions defensive coordinator, Cory Undlin, claims there is no panic with any defensive position after two embarrassing losses.
If it seems like a very media-friendly or politically correct statement, that is precisely what this is. After back-to-back atrocious defensive performances in the first two games of the season, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin should be losing sleep nightly trying to figure out how to right the ship.
Along with the tossing and turning at night, Undlin should be exceptionally close to breaking out into a cold sweat with Kyler Murray and company waiting in the wings. After that, things won’t get any easier with the New Orleans Saints net on the docket in week four.
The Detroit Lions were expected to be led by Matthew Stafford and the dynamic offense. Stafford spotted his Lions a three-score lead entering the fourth quarter in week one, only to lose. Detroit jumped out to a 14-3 lead in Green Bay only to be embarrassed to the tune of 42-21. Stafford has not looked sharp thus far in 2020. In his defense, he’s missing his top playmaker but hopes to see Kenny Golladay return Sunday in Arizona.
While Stafford’s play has been average, instead of resembling the 2019 season, the Detroit Lions defense has returned to form. Form being atrocious.
Leading up to Sunday’s matchup with the Cardinals, Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury had been asked how Detroit’s defense looks under Undlin in 2020 compared to Matt Patricia’s of the past. He had this to say;
I mean, he’s not wrong.
This Detroit defense allows 425 yards per game through the first two contests of the year; last season, the Lions allowed 400, suitable for second-worst in the league by less than two yards. Ironically, Detroit’s week three opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, gave up the most yards per game in 2019.
Here is the difference after the first two weeks of the 2020 season, Detroit remains at the bottom of the pack while Arizona has improved from a league-worst to seventh best early on this season. The Lions continue to use this ‘bend, don’t break’ Patricia-style defense that I am convinced will be the death of me under Undlin. Something tells me, Undlin had been hired to be a puppet for Patricia, maybe a scapegoat rather than having the freedom to call his own game.
Undlin claims there is no panic on the defensive side of the ball. I understand there is a difference between panic and urgency, but the Detroit Lions need to play Sunday with a little bit of panic in their game, along with a sense of urgency.
It’s a matchup that does not favor the Lions.
The Detroit defense, similar to last season, has failed to generate any type-of pass-rush, and Kyler Murray is a true dual-threat quarterback. Murray has the potential to do severe damage with his legs by either extending the play or taking off and running towards the down marker.
The Lions secondary does not match up well against DeAndre Hopkins. Detroit will need a flawless effort from corner Desmond Trufant who didn’t practice Wednesday and is battling a hamstring injury if they hope to keep this game close. And with Justin Coleman out, future Hall Of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald is in-line for a massive day working out of the slot.