Can Detroit Lions Secondary Succeed Playing Man Coverage?

Lions played the most snaps in man coverage last season, but allowed a staggering 23 touchdowns while in man coverage in 2019

No other team in the NFL played more in man coverage than the Detroit Lions did in 2019.

By all accounts, the Lions secondary struggled mightily to achieve consistency, despite having one of the best cornerbacks in the league.

While the players did not come right out directly and state it publicly, it is certainly plausible that both Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs voiced displeasure at head coach Matt Patricia's defensive scheme and philosophy.

The issue at hand is if the Lions were not going to bring pressure at a significant rate, the pressure was going to be placed squarely on the secondary to stop top-level wide receivers and tight ends.

In the end, that was simply not accomplished, as Detroit's secondary and defense both failed repeatedly to hold leads.

Veterans would be certainly frustrated at having to answer for not making enough plays while believing that the coaches did not put them in the right positions to begin with.

USA Today analyst Doug Farrar pointed out Monday, "In 2019, the Lions played 336 snaps in man coverage, the most in the NFL. In man coverage, Detroit allowed 23 touchdowns to just three interceptions."

In 2020, Detroit will feature two new cornerbacks that will attempt to execute what Patricia and new defensive coordinator Cory Undlin are setting out to accomplish.

Rookie Jeff Okudah had a significant amount of success playing in man coverage in college. 

But recall, this is a league that is suited for offenses to shine. 

Early in the season, if the secondary gets off to a slow start, it may just behoove Detroit to consider different defensive coverages to aid the secondary and give players more of a chance to succeed.


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