The kneecap-biting Lions are modifying their approach to biting kneecaps.
Recently, coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn explained that the defensive line will be making a shift to the manner in which they approach their assignments.
It’s less of a change to the alignment and more of a change to the philosophy.
“I just think more of it is, I just call it much more ‘hitting the blocks,’” Campbell said, via SI.com. “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. That’s the best way to describe it.”
It sounds as if it’s less hold-your-ground-and-read-the-play and more attack-attack-attack. The former approach, if successful, ties up the offensive line and gives the linebackers a chance to get to the ball. The latter approach creates potential disruption and chaos in the backfield.
“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,” Campbell said. “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.”
It sounds as if reading and reacting will still happen. But if it’s happening on the offense’s side of the line of scrimmage, the tackles will be made faster and the gains will be minimized.
Every team presumably would like to perform this way. It requires defensive linemen who can overpower those who are trying to block them.
“It is a more aggressive style of defense,” Glenn said, via SI.com. “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 [McNeill] has. I want to showcase that. It makes sense. I want to showcase it. I want to showcase what Levi [Onwuzurike] shows at the scene. I want to showcase what Aidan [Hutchinson] could do when I’m kicking him inside to do things. I want to showcase wha [Josh Paschal] can do. So I’m looking at every player’s ability and how can I showcase this.”
That’s good coaching. That’s the way to get the most out of the defensive front. That’s the way to get them to play so well that people are coming up with a nickname for them.