NOTEBOOK: Players expecting changes on defense

Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin said we'll have to wait until Sunday to see what possible tweaks Detroit's making on defense after the team moved on from head coach Matt Patricia this past weekend.

"There's definitely going to be some changes," Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara said Thursday. "Cory's obviously going to put some of the things he's had success with and we're really looking forward to it."

Undlin spent the previous five seasons as the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive backs coach, and he came to Detroit with more than 15 years of NFL experience with stops in Denver, Jacksonville, Cleveland and New England along the way.

"We didn't play well enough, and hence, one of our coworkers lost his job," Undlin said earlier this week. "So we're going to play better. My mindset is not changing, going to come in and keep working, and see if we can find a way to play right down the stretch here."

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Wednesday Dec. 2, 2020.

Can Undlin push the right buttons and make the necessary tweaks these last five weeks to help Detroit's defense play more consistent? Detroit heads into Sunday's game in Chicago ranked 31st in points allowed, 29th in total defense, 28th against the run and 26th against the pass.

While Okwara was excited for some of the new things Detroit's implementing of defense, it's hard to expect wholesale changes heading into Week 13.

"There's going to be some similarities and little differences here and there, but as much as I want to tell you, you can't give any click-bait to the Bears," veteran safety Duron Harmon said Thursday.

"There will be some changes and some similarities, but at the end of the day, you can't change your entire defense after 11 weeks. We're going to do kind of what we've been doing well and have a few mix-ups. Excited to see what it looks like on Sunday."


Center Frank Ragnow is the Lions nominee for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. Each NFL team nominated one player for the award, which recognizes players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.

The award was created in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr.

A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community will select eight finalists (four in the AFC and four in the NFC) from the 32 nominees. The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote on Dec. 18.

The award is presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.

Ragnow has become one of the best young centers in the NFL in his third season, and he exemplifies playing the game the right way.

View photos of the starters for the Chicago Bears.


Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson has 50-plus receiving yards in nine games this season. Only Washington's Terry McLaurin and Carolina's D.J. Moore have more among receivers (10 each), per NFL Media Research. Robinson is one of just four players with 70-plus receptions, 800-plus receiving yards and five-plus receiving touchdowns this season. The other three are Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams and Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen.

Robinson doesn't get enough credit for how good he's been this year, especially considering the juggling the Bears have done at the quarterback position.

The Lions rank 26th against the pass heading into Sunday's game, and are coming off a loss to Houston on Thanksgiving where they allowed Texans wide receiver Will Fuller to catch six passes for 171 yards and two scores. Detroit's also thin at cornerback with Desmond Trufant placed on IR this week and Jeff Okudah still battling a shoulder injury.

Related Content