Dan Campbell seeks answers after firing of Aubrey Pleasant


The Detroit Lions fired defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant on Monday following the 31-27 loss to the Miami Dolphins.  The team is now 1-6 this season.  Head Coach Dan Campbell said the decision was tough, but something had to be done.

“I think Aubrey’s a hell of a coach, I’ve got a ton of respect for him. It was a tough decision, but we’re in a production-based business and after seven weeks it’s just – I felt like this change needed to be made. So, I wish him the best of luck and I appreciate everything he’s put into it. He put his heart and soul into everything he did.”

The defense, specifically the secondary, has been especially awful so far this season.  In Sunday’s game, after leading the game for over 40 minutes, Tua Tagovailo air-mailed the ball to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle for almost 400 yards, leaving the secondary in the dust.

While yesterday wasn’t a great showing for the defense, Campbell says there wasn’t anything that happened specifically in that game that drew this conclusion.

“No, listen I think that it was all – it’s all encompassing after seven weeks. It just – with where we’re at. And then there again, I just think something needed to be – something needed to change.”

Not the Guy

Pleasant was part of the coaching staff that Campbell brought in 2021. He came to Detroit from the Los Angeles Rams where he was praised by Jalen Ramsey.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t proven to be that guy for Detroit.  Through the first seven games, teams are scoring 73% of the time on the Lions in the Red Zone, the third worst in the NFL.  Campbell says he just wants everyone to get on the same page.

“I just want to see us all on the same page, and if we’re going to get beat, it’s because we’re – maybe we’re getting outrun or we’re not quite in phase, but at least we’re kind of there. We’ve got to cut our mentals in half.”

Safeties coach Brian Duker will be taking over the position effective immediately.  Dan Campbell is hoping a new voice will be the change that the defense needs.  He is confident he still has the right players in place.

I still believe in the guys that we have. I think that – I know what we have on the backend and I think they’re good enough to help us compete and win. And we just – we’ve got to see if we can get them going even a little bit better.”

Player Reactions

Losing a coach in any capacity takes a toll on the entire organization.  Captain and Linebacker Alex Anzalone spoke on the difficulty of losing Pleasant as a coach on Monday.

“Its a tough business and you just have to trust Dan made the right decision… I definitely think it sets the tone. And for me personally, AP wasn’t my coach, but it’s like, ‘What did I do to get him fired?’ and if everyone takes that perspective on it, that’s really when you will get growth out of a tough situation like this.”

I asked Anzalone how he, as a captain, is continuing to motivate this team and keep the energy in the locker room.  He said it’s really tough, but they’ve got a job to do.

“We have 10 opportunities to go out there and put our best foot forward and really I guess attack these games in a different mentality than what we’ve been doing.  Changes have been made and they are going to continue to be made. And you know, at the end of the day my opinion is just doing your job.  And if you’re not playing hard, if you’re not having attention to detail, if youre having mental errors, you shouldnt be playing and you know that’s just what I believe in personally.”

In addition, D’Andre Swift also spoke to the media on Monday saying they just have to go back to work.

“All we can do is come in here, go to work every day, and try to get better each day, get ready for Green Bay.”

The Detroit Lions will host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at 1pm ET.

Maddy Miller – Detroit Lions Beat Reporter

On Twitter: @madelynvmillerr

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