Detroit Coach Aaron Glenn Buried Game Tape of Lions’ Loss to Eagles, Literally

Entering Week 10 against the Steelers, the Lions rank 30th in total defense and 31st in points allowed in the NFL

Aaron Glenn of the Detroit Lions looks on before a game at Ford Field
Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn of the Detroit Lions looks on before a game at Ford Field.
Nic Antaya/Getty

After playing the Rams and former quarterback Matthew Stafford fairly tough in a 28-19 loss in Los Angeles in Week 7, the Lions returned home for a Week 8 matchup against the Eagles and got waxed by Philadelphia 44-6 in Detroit.

The loss sent the Lions and first-year head coach Dan Campbell into the team’s bye week as the NFL’s only winless team at 0-8, not a good place for the 45-year-old and his staff if they want to return for a second season in Motown.

Searching for ways to improve a defensive unit that allowed 236 rushing yards in the loss to the Eagles and has permitted opponents to turn 20-of-24 red zone opportunities into touchdowns (the highest percentage in the NFL), Detroit defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and Campbell decided it was a good idea to literally bury the team’s past mistakes in a hole in the ground so that they wouldn’t linger past the bye week.

That decision made, Campbell had Glenn and his unit take a shovel behind the team’s practice facility and bury the game tape from the Lions’ loss to the Eagles after the defense watched the film of their horrendous performance against Philly.

“They watched it, and they went outside and literally buried it under the ground,” Campbell said. “It’s a good way to do it. Yeah, got it done. It needed to be. So, we learned what we needed to learn from it, and we buried it because we can’t let that happen again.”

Burying a tape of a poor game is nothing new. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick buried the tape of his team’s 2008 loss to the Dolphins when Miami unveiled a surprise wildcat offense, and ex-Lions coach Matt Patricia (who was with the Patriots and is now back in New England) did something similar when he buried a football after his losing his game as the head coach in Detroit 48-17 to the New York Jets.

“I really wasn’t looking at it as a motivation factor,” Glenn told The Detroit Free Press. “I really wasn’t looking at it as a symbol of what other coaches did. I looked at it, myself personally, that, man, these first eight games are over with. All the mistakes, all the arguments, all the issues, they’re gone. They’re done. So now, it’s time to move on to this last part of the season.”

Entering Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Lions rank 30th in total defense, 31st in points allowed and have allowed eight plays of 40-plus yards this season. Hopefully, those stats will disappear along with the tape.

“I think they really liked it,” Glenn said of the reaction to the ceremonial gesture. “Because afterwards, I think every defensive player when we did bury it, they jumped on it. And they stepped on it, they stomped on it. What was funny, our video assistant, Shelby [Hawk], she was last and she jumped on it twice.”

The Steelers are favored by eight points in Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh with an over/under of 42.5. We’d lay the points.

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