The Detroit Lions made some tweaks to their coaching staff this offseason, and one new addition is former Lions cornerback Dre Bly, who will focus on teaching the cornerbacks in the defensive backs room.
Bly spent 12 years in the NFL and was a two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion (XXIV with the Rams). Bly always played with a swagger and confidence, and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn expects him to bring that swagger to the Lions defensive backs room as an assistant coach.
"The next guy I knew I wanted to bring in was somebody that can really show and let these corners know, 'This is how a corner operates,'" Glenn said last week at the NFL Scouting Combine about the addition of Bly. "And I'll tell you what, he has it. He's fun, he's energetic, he has this aura and swagger about him that I know for a fact is going to seep into all our guys. I think it's a really good mix when you have a guy like (defensive backs coach Brian) Duker and you have Dre, so I'm looking forward to seeing how those guys operate."
Duker enters his third season on staff after being elevated from safeties coach to defensive backs coach when the team relieved Aubrey Pleasant of that role midseason last year. Detroit's secondary played much better the second half of the season as the team finished 8-2 and nearly made the playoffs.
Glenn said he's looking forward to seeing how Duker and Bly are able to mesh together and get the most out of the players in that room.
"Man, I'll tell you, that (DB) room, I'm looking forward to seeing how (Bly) and Duker operate in that room because you have two different personalities. Two totally different personalities," Glenn said. "Duker is way more cerebral, and I've been with Duker since our time in Cleveland, so I know him really, really well."
Bly has been the defensive backs coach at his alma mater North Carolina the last four seasons. Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Bly is going to really focus on technique with the cornerbacks, something Campbell said was Bly's specialty when he was a player which allowed him to play as long as he did at the level he did.
View photos of the defensive backs at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.
The Lions finished last season ranked 30th against the pass and 25th in opponent passer rating. Their 12 interceptions ranked 20th and their 62 passes defended ranked 25th.
The team returns Jeff Okudah and Jerry Jacobs, two young, ascending players in this league that should benefit from working with Bly. But there's also expected to be some new faces in that cornerback room, and it will be interesting to see how Bly is able to get the most out of them.