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Dan Campbell Explains Benefits of Changing Defensive Front

Dan Campbell elaborated on why the defensive front has been modified this season by the coaching staff.

The Detroit Lions are looking to be more aggressive on defense. 

After a season in which the defensive line did not pressure the opposing quarterback enough and gave up far too many yards on the ground, a decision was made to modify the base defense the team would line up in this upcoming season. 

“I just think more of it is, I just call it much more ‘Hitting the blocks.’ I don’t want to say we were catching, and it wasn’t two-gap, we just were a little more, ‘Play at the line of scrimmage,’ where now we really want to play more on their side of the line of scrimmage," head coach Dan Campbell explained at organized team activities. "That’s the best way to describe it."

Campbell added, "Look, we still have all the front variations, all those things, but I think that will probably be the biggest difference that anybody would notice, is just the fact that we want to -- we’re not just running through gaps and closing our eyes and stuff like that. We’re not like that, but we are much more, ‘Hit the blocks and play on their side of the line of scrimmage,’ which is a little bit different than what we were last year."

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The coaching staff, led by defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, want to maximize the potential of the players on the roster, thus making a subtle change will serve to aid the players up front. 

"I do think this will serve our front well," Campbell said. "I think this will help Alim (McNeill), I think it will help Levi (Onwuzurike), it will help really all those guys up front.”

A marker of a good coaching staff is being willing to adapt their defensive schemes and decisions based on the talent that is on the roster. 

After watching college tape of McNeill, Onwuzurike and Aidan Hutchinson, Glenn now wants the defensive line to be more "attacking" in their approach. 

"It is a more aggressive style of defense," Glenn said. "I want to be able to take advantage of every player, their ability as much as I can. I want to take advantage of that athleticism that Alim has. I want to showcase that. It makes sense. I want to showcase it. I want to showcase what Levi shows at the scene. I want to showcase what Aidan could do when I'm kicking him inside to do things. I want to showcase what J.P. (Josh Paschal) can do. So I'm looking at every player's ability and how can I showcase this."