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What the Lions are getting in their new defensive coordinator

January 22nd, 2021

Aaron Glenn is now officially hired as the new defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions. Days of speculation about the position and of Glenn’s status are finally over.

Glenn comes to the Lions from the New Orleans Saints, where he has been that team’s secondary coach for the last six years. He’s done a great job with a playmaking crew that includes CB Marshon Lattimore, S Vonn Bell and agitator extraordinaire Chauncey Gardner-Johnson at safety. He’s a hands-on coach who isn’t afraid to get on the field and physically demonstrate what he wants his players to do.

He earns that respect from his playing career. Glenn played over 200 games in the NFL as a cornerback and punt returner, starting out as the No. 12 overall pick in the first round of the 1994 draft by the New York Jets. He made three Pro Bowls and notched 41 career interceptions in a career that ended in 2008 with the Saints. Playing outside CB for 15 seasons as a 5-foot-9, 185-pounder speaks to his competitiveness and attention to detail.

Much of that long and successful playing career came under Bill Parcells and direct Parcells coaching disciple, Sean Payton. The time in between those two coaches, Glenn played for the expansion Houston Texans and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio under head coach Dom Capers. Why is all that important?

Those are core 3-4 base defenses. The Lions are coming out of running the Matt Particia version of the same base Parcells defense. Glenn’s experiences in New Orleans have proven he’s evolved into someone who emphasizes playmaking and risk-taking, at least with the secondary. That should be a welcome change from Detroit’s passive, reactive scheme the last few years.

He does have some player scouting background, too. Glenn worked one season (2013) as a college area scout and one (2012) as a pro scout for the Jets. Understanding that process and helping to identify the talent he knows he can work with is something that meshes nicely with the collaborative emphasis that new GM Brad Holmes espouses.

He jumped from the Jets front office to the Cleveland Browns as the DB coach. Perhaps the greatest testament to Glenn’s ability to develop talent and craft a strong unit came from the 2014 season with the Browns. Joe Haden, Tashaun Gipson and Donte Whitner all made the Pro Bowl in the defensive backfield from a team that finished 7-9 and dead last in run defense. All those players fell off after Glenn left, too.

It is a jump from being a position coach to a coordinator, but Glenn has shown enough ability with the Saints secondary that he got to choose between coordinator jobs this offseason. He chose to ride to Detroit from New Orleans with Dan Campbell.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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