Lions secondary ranks high among the most mistake-prone in coverage

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Anyone who has watched the Detroit Lions play defense recently knows the story all too well. Breakdowns in coverage and communication gaffes abound with the cornerbacks and safeties, allowing the opposing passing offense to find unusual and frustrating levels of success.

Pro Football Focus and analyst Haley English have found a way to quantify the mistakes made by the defensive players in coverage, as well as how much it impacts the positive outcome for the offense. And the Lions–as expected–rank near the top in mistakes from both cornerbacks and safeties.

Detroit’s cornerbacks are second in percentage of errors, while the safeties rank fifth. The study goes back over the last three seasons, a time in which the Lions have ranked 30th, 32nd and 27th in QB Rating allowed. The mistakes and breakdowns in coverage on the back end help explain why those figures are so bad.

As English notes, there is ample room for improvement,

The Detroit Lions’ secondary has struggled in recent years, and their safeties and cornerbacks were in the bottom five in terms of messing up in coverage and getting beat by receivers. Their 2020 first-round pick Jeff Okudah, who currently messes up in coverage 20% of the time, can potentially help out this weaker secondary if he steps up and stays healthy.

A better pass rush would help mitigate some of the mistakes, no doubt. And the Lions have added help at safety with veteran DeShon Elliott and third-round rookie Kerby Joseph in hopes of upgrading the coverage at that spot. But DBs coach Aubrey Pleasant still has his work cut out for him to move his unit out of the bottom of the league.