There’s been a lot of chatter this offseason about how different the Detroit Lions defense is going to look under new coordinator Teryl Austin.
The biggest change, however, might just be how different it looks from week to week.
“I’m not going to be married to anything,” Austin said after Tuesday’s OTA session. “What we’re going to try to be married to is what’s best for our guys that week and that game.”
The Lions are a base 4-3 defense under Austin, but will have some 3-4 concepts and even some 5-2 looks. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of shifting pre-snap and linebackers blitzing and lineman dropping into coverage. It's going to have a lot of moving parts in an effort to confuse offenses.
The former regime played a lot of Cover 2 off the line of scrimmage and relied mainly on the front four to generate the pressure.
Opponents knew what they were getting.
That’s not to say the defense didn’t do some good things last year. The Lions ranked No. 1 in the league on third down and No. 2 in the red zone, but Austin and the 2014 version of this defense plan to mix things up much more, and that’s gotten players excited.
“I kind of feel like a man that if you have a whole bunch of tools you go around looking for stuff to fix because you just want to use your tools,” safety
“When you don’t have a bunch of tools you’re kind of like, ‘Nah, I can get it tomorrow.’ “Going into games and having a whole bunch of different stuff and a whole bunch of different tools that we can use, we’re going to look for those opportunities to figure out which one works best and use it and hopefully that equates to more turnovers and a dominant defense.”
The Lions need to create more turnovers (22 last year) and sacks (28) and they think mixing up looks, trying to dictate play and keeping offenses on their toes can help do that.
“We’re going to try and give the offense as many looks as we can, bring people from many angles and try to make them adjust to us instead of us always adjusting to them,” Austin said.
When the Lions defense had two or more interceptions last year they were 3-0. They were 5-2 when they had at least two takeaways in a game. When the Lions recorded at least two sacks they were 6-3.
Pressure equals turnovers and the Lions plan to create a lot more pressure from a lot more areas than just that talented front four.
“I think (fans) are going to see a fast, physical, relentless attacking defense,” Quin said. “We’re going to build on that and that’s what we’re going to strive to be.”