On Monday’s during the mid 1990s Detroit Lions defensive line coach John Teerlinck placed glue and tape on paper cut outs of NFL quarterbacks and had clubhouse attendants paste mug shots over the dressing stall of any player that recorded a sack during the previous day’s game.
Teerlinck might have done it himself but it is dangerous for a 300-pound guy to balance himself on a ladder or stool.
Players were thrilled to see the mug shots of Brett Favre, Warren Moon or any other quarterback that they brought down the previous day.
That was his way to motivate players to attack the quarterback and remain aggressive on defense. In 1995 the Lions recorded 42 sacks and 32 the next year even as the Wayne Fontes era unraveled.
Teelinck believed that defenses needed to attack quarterbacks, hurry up their thought process and get off the field as quickly as possible. It is the exact opposite of current head coach Matt Patricia, whose bend but don’t break passive defensive schemes are getting eaten alive by opposing quarterbacks. Even bad quarterbacks look good against the Lions who are marred in an 11 game losing streak and crippling 0-2 start to 2020.
The defensive guru from New England has been a disaster in Detroit, mostly because his defense looks lethargic and players sometimes look less than enthused to run his scheme. Now mental mistakes are more prevalent, especially late in games.
“Some guys it’s really hard to get there,” said Lions defensive coordinator Corey Undlin. “And the emphasis for that quarterback is not necessarily to blitz him or hit him. You obviously want to put pressure on him, put the clock on him.”
The Lions have two sacks in two games. Last year the Lions recorded 28 sacks. Only the Miami Dolphins (23) ranked lower. The Lions are giving up 27.8 points a game during this 11 game losing streak and are the kings of fourth quarter melt downs as the defense unravels and the offense stalls.
This problem began as soon as Patricia stepped foot in town and it appears as if he and his staff have not learned how to fix this. There is no hope for this team playing this type defense. Players grow weary and the coaches become frustrated with the lack of production.
The Lions do not believe in throwing many blitz packages. Why not? What have you got to lose? This way is not working.
Per Pro Football Focus Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers worked within a clean pocket on 93 percent of his throws. That is football suicide. The last thing you want to see in the NFL is a quarterback patting the football while observing the field. More than likely he will destroy you. The Packers might have scored more than 42 points if not from dropped balls from a less talented receiving core.
Even Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky rallied his team from 18 down in the fourth quarter to record a win against the fading Lions defense.
So this is not a new problem. Patricia is not the only defensive mind to come in here with a passive defensive package. Defense coordinators have been hired with grandiose plans to install an aggressive defensive system. Then they get here, look at their talent, and implement more zone blitzes and other passive schemes.
Players grow frustrated. They want coaches to believe in them and allow them to pin their ears back and go after it. Add Patricia to a long list of Lions coaches who does not believe in his personnel.
The Lions could use a man like John Teerlinck in their coaching room. Unfortunately, the original died earlier this year at age 69.
Where is the motivation?
Where is the belief?
Where is the aggressive play?
It’s not in Detroit. That’s why the Lions are doom to fail — again.Find Terry Foster Podcast here: