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Davis looking to bring energy & physicality to Lions' secondary

Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn feels like he has a collection of players who not only fit his scheme, but also what he's about fundamentally as a football coach.

One of those players Glenn talked about Thursday ahead of Detroit's third OTA practice and first open to the media was veteran cornerback Carlton Davis III.

Davis specializes in man coverage and has excelled in that aspect of the game since entering the NFL in 2018 as a second-round pick by Tampa Bay. The Lions traded a third-round pick for Davis this offseason and also got back a sixth (2024) and fifth rounder (2025) in the deal.

Glenn said his philosophy on defense is to be smothering and aggressive. Detroit played more zone coverage last year than they did in 2022, but with the additions of Davis and some others this offseason in the secondary, Glenn thinks he can get back to being more aggressive and playing more man.

"That's who I am as a coach," he said.

Glenn likes to blitz and put pressure on opposing offenses, but to be really effective doing it, you need players in the back end who can play man coverage one-on-one and make plays. In Davis, Glenn believes he has a cornerback who fits that.

"I've been knowing about this player since he came out of Auburn," Glenn said of Davis. "He's been a player that is going to get into someone's face and challenge. There's nothing that changes about that. He did when he was in Tampa. I know they are expecting the same things here. He fits perfect for what we want to do."

Davis certainly understands the assignment.

"I'm about to just lock s--- up," he said after practice Thursday. "Excuse my French. I'm not going to lie. I'm about to lock No. 1 receivers up, get my hands on some balls and give the ball back to our offense and play physical and bring energy. You'll see."

Davis said he hasn't been this excited for a season since 2020 when the Bucs had a loaded roster and ended up winning the Super Bowl. He thinks the competition in the cornerback room is going to make everyone better, and he plans to be a mentor to the young players and a leader in that room.

View photos from Day 3 of Detroit Lions OTA practice on Thursday, May 23, 2024 in Allen Park, Mich.

"It's no surprise the new guys that we got they excel playing man coverage," Glenn said. "Something we want to do here on defense. Something we've always wanted to do. Something we'll continue to look at.

"Obviously, we'll have our zone defense we'll play, but we're going to try and do everything we can to put these guys in a position to do what they do well. Terrion (Arnold), (Ennis) Rakestraw, CD (Davis), Mik (Amik Robertson) like all those guys, and even the guys we had here, they've done a hell of job this offseason working on man coverage. We'll have a good variety as far as coverages go."

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