Allowing a 70-yard run is never fun when you’re a defensive coordinator. But when it happens when your defense has only 10 men on the field, it makes matters even worse. That was recently the case for Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, who watched his undermanned defense allow running back Dalvin Cook to score on a 70-yard run during last Sunday’s loss to the Vikings. They were playing a man down on the snap and it was no one’s fault but their own.
Last Sunday marked the second straight week that the Lions defense was caught with just 10 men on the field. Undlin, who spoke to the media earlier this week, called the Lions issues fielding 11 men on the field “embarrassing.”
“I would say this: It’s just poor, poor coaching is what it is,” Undlin said, via the Detroit Free Press. Undlin said the issue is due to a possible lack of communication from the Lions’ coaches that are sitting in the press box.
“If we get confused or if our guys upstairs can’t see it, or if — I know a lot of times I can just look over there and see who’s coming in and who’s coming out,” Undlin said. “Sometimes depending on where the ball is at, I have to rely on the guys that are upstairs, and they tell me, and then I call the personnel on defense, and they go out there. Each position coach is responsible for getting his guys on the field, and that’s how it goes down. I make the call and that’s how it goes down.”
The Lions, who are in the midst of their third season under former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, are 28th in the NFL in points allowed. The Lions’ defense is also 18th in the league in passing, 30th in rushing, 27th in third down efficiency and fourth down efficiency. The Lions, 3-5 through eight games, are now preparing to face a Washington offense that is 30th in the league in scoring, 26th in passing and 29th in rushing.
Undlin, who promised last week that the issue would not happen, repeated his promise to his team as well as to the media this week.
“I failed you guys at that,” Undlin said. “I failed the players at that. But ultimately it comes back to me. But that’s how it goes down. Coaches have to get their guys out there. We have to be on the same page. We have to make sure that we communicate to him on the sideline before the series starts so everybody knows. It’s bad coaching.”