Lions prepare for rematch with Philly after last season's 44-6 loss: "We all take it personal"

Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson
Posted at 12:24 PM, Sep 08, 2022

In the 2021 season, the Lions lost to the Eagles 44-6 and called it embarrassing. This year, they open the season against Philadelphia with a sell-out home crowd amid all the excitement and anticipation of a new year. What does defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn think about facing the Eagles again? Simple: "We all take it personal."

"Just knowing that they ran for 236 (yards) or whatnot, we know we have to stop the run," said Glenn. "But I’ll tell you what man, the one thing that we did this offseason is we look at improving in that area. I think from the preseason it shows that and now we get to go against a really, really good team that’s going to come out and run the ball. Then, we get another opportunity to show that we’ve improved. So, we’re looking forward to that.”

Glenn and his Lions defense face an interesting opponent in the Eagles' mobile quarterback Jalen Hurts. Glenn talked about aknowledging Hurts' ability to rack up rushing yards, as well as rushing touchdowns, and said that is something that the defense is accounting for.

"At some point, there’s going to be a one-on-one play, and our guys have to get him down," said Glenn. "That’s just how this game is for the most part. Offense will try to do as much as they can to create matchups, and then, we try to do as much as we can to be able to say, ‘Listen there, if you think your guy can beat my guy, let’s go.’ And a lot of times that’s how we look at it. So, again we’re looking forward to that matchup with that player, with every player they have and we just got to do a better job in that situation.”

Glenn said the defense has improved in many areas in comparison to last season, whether that in progress or by adding personnel to the roster. The most obvious addition is first round pick, second overall, in Michigan graduate Aidan Hutchinson. When talking about making the transition from NFL training camp to NFL regular season, Glenn said it's an easy ask out of Hutchinson: "play football."

“There’s one thing about that player, you don’t have to give him advice about his intensity level, he’s already at the intensity level," said Glenn. "You guys seen him practice, you’re seen him play, so there’s nothing to be said about that, you don’t have to over-coach that player on that. That’s just natural for him, so we’re going to let Aidan be Aidan and you’ll see exactly what you’re going to get from him.”

Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp also spoke Thursday ahead of their season opener at Ford Field and said the most challenging and most fun thing about the start of a new year is assembling a new special teams unit and seeing how they perform come game time.

"The best part about this thing is building a group of guys and getting them to rally around each other and finding a way to put them in the best position you can as a coach to hopefully make them as successful as they can be as individual players and try to get the most out of the group that you’ve got," said Fipp. " I’m excited about the guys we have for sure, so I will definitely say that. These guys work really hard, they’ve been passionate about it, they’ve done a great job in training camp, and I know they’re excited to get out there to play.”

A lot of eyes fall on the offense this year. How will Ben Johnson do as first year offensive coordinator? What will Jared Goff's game look like with a new coach and new sense of ownership of the offense? With a first week injury taking out Halapoulivaati Vaitai, what does that mean for adjustments for the offensive line? Well, Johnson said whatever moves they make with the starting five, he feels good about it.

"I'm confident with whatever lineup we roll out will be ready to go."

Jared Goff said that working with Johnson "has been better than I ever could imagine." And that sentiment is mutual coming from Johnson to Goff. Johnson raved about Goff's leadership skills and preparation. He said Goff is everything he could want out of a quarterback.

The Lions take on the Eagles at Ford Field Sunday September 10th at 1pm.