Detroit Lions DC Aaron Glenn a great mentor for the youthful corners

Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Lions rookie Jeff Okudah is coming off of an ugly rookie campaign, but the new regime will give him every opportunity to wash his hands of 2020 and start over in 2021.

It’s basically a wholesale regime change aside from a couple of management holdovers in the front office.  Principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp has opted to retain Rod Wood as team President and CEO along with Mike Disner as VP of football operations and business administration.

Head coach Dan Campbell brought Aaron Glenn with him from the New Orleans Saints to be the teams’ defensive coordinator.  Glenn is a three-time Pro Bowler himself, gives me a plethora of hope he will have the ability to coach up not only Okudah but also Amani Oruwariye.

When you look at Detroit’s depth chart from a year ago, Oruwariye ranked as the Lions’ top ‘regular’ performer earning a 50.4 overall grade according to Pro Football Focus (PFF).  That mark was good for the 100th in the league.

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Veteran corner and slot specialist Justin Coleman ranked 111th with a 47.4 mark, Okudah came in 115th with a 42.5 grade, and veteran Desmond Trufant earned a 38.4 mark which was 120th out of 121 total players.

A more efficient defensive scheme will only help the Detroit Lions secondary.

With the four expected to return in 2021, Glenn has his work cut out for him.  Now, let’s make sure we acknowledge something.  These Detroit Lions’ corners had been left on an island in former head coach Matt Patricia’s pressure-less scheme.

Patricia rarely blitzed and failed to make any adjustments to create pressure even after understanding sending a four-person rush wasn’t working.  The Lions didn’t exactly dial-up many stunts or send extra bodies but elected to drop into coverage.

The Lions linebackers as a whole are atrocious in coverage, and with no pressure on the opposing quarterback’s the Detroit secondary had been asked to cover pass-catchers for upwards of five-six or seven seconds at times. At this level, it’s simply impossible.  I don’t care if you put Darrelle Revis, Deion Sanders, and Richard Sherman out there all in their prime; they are not sticking to these NFL receivers for that type of time.

Okudah started six games in ’20, appearing in nine contested, earning 47 tackles, and defending two passes along with adding one interception.  Oruwariye made 53 total tackles, defended six passes, and made one interception starting 15 games and appearing in all 16 last year for the Detroit Lions.

I can only hope Glenn will have a similar impact on Okudah and Oruwariye as he did with Marshon Lattimore with the Saints.

Lattimore, a former first-round pick in 2017, played his way to earning defensive rookie of the year honors.  Lattimore is widely regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, already a three-time Pro Bowler despite struggling last season with the Saints.

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Lattimore played a whopping 990 defensive snaps last season but gave up a season-high eight touchdowns, defended 11 passes, pulled down two interceptions, and was flagged a career-high 11 times.  The 24-year old corner also produced a career-worst 59.1 rating in 2020.