COORDINATOR CUT-UP: Back to trust and discipline

Posted Nov 20, 2013

Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham talks about the Lions' performance at Pittsburgh and how they can turn it around

Chris HoustonPhoto: G. Smith/Detroit Lions

Know your assignment. Do your job.

It seems pretty easy, but hasn't always been the consistent formula for the Detroit Lions secondary this year.

"We had some guys that were farming land that wasn't theirs, they were out of position," head coach Jim Schwartz said of last week's loss in Pittsburgh during his Monday press conference.

"What happens is that you start pressing to try and make plays and then you end up giving up one."

Or two, or three.

It's been a problem with this secondary at times this season. Perhaps the pressure to make a big play is causing some players to try and do too much instead of staying true to assignments.

"It's a combination of focusing on your job and preparation," defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said. "John Bonamego told the team a story early in the year about being ready versus being prepared. There's a difference.

"Our guys play hard, but I think what we've lost is the way to make a play through proper play entry, which is a lot of discipline that's involved."

The Lions want to make the play and are in position to do so a lot of the time. What has happened is lack of discipline and trust in big- or close-game situations.

In Pittsburgh, some of Detroit's best players on defense missed tackles that led to big plays, were in wrong spots that led to big plays and dropped interceptions that took big plays off the board.

"The positive out of this game for me is we were within a play to win," Cunningham said. "And I believe we should have won the game. We've had three games like that and that's Arizona, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

"Now, anybody can say that, but I believe we should have won those games. We were in striking distance and we didn't finish it. We need to fix that in a hurry."

What is the answer? How does it get fixed Week 12?

"There are a lot of combinations of things (we can do) and -- for all my career -- I've been thinking about it," said Cunningham. "What is the answer? In order to make things right with the team it takes all of us. Coaches, players, everybody.

"The bus driver, the pilot in the airplane and the hotel. Everything has to be done the right way and when those things click like that you win.”