4 Positives for Lions' Defense Headed into 2020

Vito Chirco

No question about it: Matt Patricia's bend-but-don't-break defense has largely failed in his first two seasons as Lions head man.

If you don't believe me, just take a look at the stats.

And sad but true, the defense regressed from 2018 to 2019.

In Patricia's first year in Motown, the defense allowed 22.5 points per game -- good for 16th out of 32 NFL franchises.

Then, a season ago, nothing went right for Patricia's D.

The unit allowed the 26th-most points per contest at 26.4.

Along with a bottom-half of the league defense in terms of points allowed, it proved to be unable to stop anyone both on the ground and through the air.

It led to the Lions allowing the 21st-most rushing yards per game at 115.9 and a league-worst 284.4 yards a game through the air.

To make matters worse, the defense blew second-half leads in seven games.

It culminated in a hugely disappointing 3-12-1 campaign for Patricia & Co.

Despite all this being said, there are a few positives on the defensive side of the ball going into 2020.

Here are four of them:

1.) Paul Pasqualoni is gone

Pasqualoni -- who oversaw the defense in '18 and '19 -- is no longer the defensive coordinator.

He needed to go, and he decided to step down at season's end in order to spend more time with his family.

The Lions are hoping that new defensive coordinator Cory Undlin will be a breath of fresh air and will help rejuvenate a Detroit defense that badly needs it.  

2.) Addition of nose tackle Danny Shelton

The 6-foot-2, 345-pound man and ex-Patriots defensive tackle was added to shore up the run defense.

The University of Washington product -- who turns 27 in August -- will serve as the replacement for Damon "Snacks" Harrison along Detroit's defensive line, and should be an upgrade over the veteran tackle.

3.) "Patriot Way" is taking shape in Motor City 

Along with adding Shelton this offseason, Detroit general manager Bob Quinn acquired ex-Patriots Jamie Collins and Duron Harmon. 

All three former New England players are individuals that Patricia can control inside the locker room.

The same was unable to be said about former longtime Lions cornerback Darius Slay.

Subsequently, the disgruntled defensive back was shipped out of town last month via a trade with the Eagles.

The defense is starting to look a lot like the way Patricia envisioned it would when he took over as head coach in 2018.

It's a big-time positive for the Patricia regime as it attempts to turn the Lions into a successful knockoff version of the Patriots.

4.) Jeff Okudah is likely pick at No. 3 overall

The standout Ohio State cornerback will likely be Detroit's selection with the third pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

He is projected by some to be an All-Pro defensive back one day.

The organization could do far worse than that with the long-term successor to Slay as the team's No. 1 CB.


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Comments (5)
No. 1-3

i wish we could just tevo past the season to Quinntricia's fairwell press conference after this 1-15 season and start looking at our soon to be new qb Trevor Lawrence


UNTIL I see the results on the field, I will not concede the Patriot Way is working in Detroit. UNTIL I see Okudah flourish in his rookie season (history says otherwise) as a starting CB only then will I believe trading Slay was a good move. MAYBE Shelton is an improvement over Harrison. I think he is because Harrison played his way out of Detroit, but now that Shelton is here, let's see if he can stand the losing that is the Detroit Lions. Harrison couldn't. Slay couldn't. Diggs couldn't. AWFUL defensive coordination. Pasqualoni should never have been hired. His track record matched his performance with the Lions. Patricia can't get out of his own way and UNTIL I see our head coach perform on Sundays then upgrades or not, he is not the genius everyone made him out to be. All across the league and sports shows, Patricia has already fallen out of favor and is on the hot seat. He'll be gone if we get burned again this year.


When 3 of the "positives" are actually negatives you know your team is garbage.
-Not really sure how Danny Shelton is a upgrade over snacks Harrison.

  • Not sure how trading one of the best corners in the league is part of a positive.

  • drafting Jeff Okudah number 3 overall?!? A positive? Lol if they draft him 3 overall that's a failure. He's not the third best player in this draft. If your drafting that high you need to get full value for that pick, or trade out of it. You can't trade one really good corner to take another one who might be. Corner isn't a position that should be considered as important as it use to be. Spending a top 3 pick on a corner is a failure