246. That’s how many different lineup combinations the Detroit Lions have used on defense this season, the most in the NFL. The unit, under coordinator Teryl Austin, has always utilized a variety of specialized packages, but the volume has been steadily on the rise. Each season, since Austin became coordinator in 2014, the team has used more combinations. In 2014, it was 319, in 2015 they used 428 and last year it was 475. This year, they’re on pace to top that. There are plenty of factors that go into those numbers, including injuries and youth. Austin did his best to put a positive spin on the trend. “I think what it does is it keeps our players engaged,” Austin said. “There’s not a guy that’s going to be out there playing tired and, ‘I got to take this play off because I’m tired.’ Our guys are engaged, and I think everybody knows they have a role in helping our team, and I think that’s important.
NFL-high 246 defensive combinations keep Lions ‘engaged’
Detroit News | Nov 4