Detroit's defensive deficiencies have cost one assistant his job.
The Lions fired defensive backs coach and pass game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press first reported the news.
Lions coach Dan Campbell confirmed the news later Monday, calling Pleasant's ouster "a tough decision."
"We're in a production-based business," Campbell explained, "and after seven weeks, I felt like this change needed to be made."
Campbell added that Brian Duker, previously the safeties coach, will take over Pleasant's responsibilities.
Pleasant joined the Lions as part of Campbell's original staff in 2021. Detroit's coaches were essentially given a free pass for the team's struggles last season, but in 2022, the Lions' issues on the defensive side of the ball have proven to be too significant to continue with the status quo. The Lions rank dead last in yards allowed per game at 421.3, and Detroit stands 27th in the NFL against the pass, surrendering over 265 yards per contest through the air.
The Lions have scored enough points to win more than one game this season. Detroit ranks ninth in scoring, but because its defense has been so shoddy, the Lions have lost five straight. In two of those contests, the offense mustered six points or less, but in the other three defeats, they've averaged 32 points per game.
Sunday was the final straw for Campbell, who watched his team surrender a 21-7 lead, losing to Miami, 31-27, in a game in which the Lions led for over 42 minutes of the game clock. The Dolphins fought their way back with an aerial attack that saw Tua Tagovailoa throw for 382 yards and three touchdowns, with both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle breaking the 100-yard receiving mark.
With the pressure of criticism bearing down on Campbell, he decided to move on from Pleasant, making the first change to a defensive staff that has been responsible for rampant mistakes and has received plenty of criticism. With Pleasant exiting the organization, it will be up to defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn to fix things in time to salvage at least some of the 2022 season.