COORDINATOR CUT-UP

Coordinator Cut-Up: Secondary's lack of consistency biggest concern for Cunningham

Posted Dec 4, 2012

The Lions' defense has lacked any semblance of consistency over the last three weeks, especially on Sunday, and that's been a big problem according to Cunningham.

Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham is a wizard when it comes to statistics. Most any statistic you want to know is just a mouse click away for Cunningham and he can usually pull it up on his computer in less than a minute.

There is one statistic that's recently popped up involving his defense, however, that he can't be too proud of.

According to STATS LLC's research going back to 1983, the Lions are the first team to lose three home games after leading with two minutes remaining.

Inconsistent play in the secondary is a good place to start when trying to explain that statistic.

"Prior to this last three game stretch, in nine games we've given up 17 20-plus passes," Cunningham told Detroitlions.com. "In the last three games, we've given up 14.

"So there's some personnel issues involved that we have to solve in a hurry and put the right guys on the field and get them to play."

Veteran cornerback Drayton Florence had the most egregious error in Sunday's 35-33 loss to the Colts when he allowed a 42-yard completion over his head with 2:39 remaining when the Lions were up two scores in a two-minute prevent defense.

“Bad eyes and inconsistent play (on my part),” Florence said after the game when asked about the touchdown. “When you play inconsistent as a secondary or an individual, good things don’t happen.”

But Florence also had an interception in the game.

Inconsistency.


The defense has lacked any semblance of consistency over the last three weeks, especially on Sunday, and that's been a big problem according to Cunningham.

The Colts had seven drives that resulted in a three-and-out last week but also had an 85-yard touchdown drive and a 75-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter that allowed them to secure a come-from-behind victory.

"For me, there are individuals on this defense that are playing probably as good as they're capable of playing and some others that are playing outstanding football," Cunningham said. "The two (defensive) tackles, Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh, are just dominating games inside.

"Yet, it's not fair to them to have the other guys not do their job, so they got an earful (from me Monday) and hopefully we can straighten it out by either making them do it right or change some things."

The Lions had a number of breakdowns in their secondary Sunday, resulting in six passing plays of 20-plus yards and four of 40-plus yards.

"To me, there's one thing getting beat physically, but it's quite something else if you get beat mentally," Cunningham said. "I don't tolerate that and I know our coaches are the same way. We've had a good 24 hour session on it so hopefully we'll get it all solved quickly."