Mon, 27 Jun 2022

DL coach Todd Wash 'very excited' about where Hutchinson's at

Detroit Lions
19 Jun 2022, 20:25 GMT+10

Mike OHara

Changing the philosophy was only the start on how the Detroit Lions will play defense this season.

Once they put the plans together, they had to make sure they had the players to execute that plan.

With the offseason workouts over except for rookies, the Lions think they have the players who fit the 4-3 base scheme and attacking style they intend to play.

The NFL has increasingly become a speed league, and the Lions plan to be in the race on both sides of the ball.

On offense, they added speed to the wide receiver corps by signing free agent DJ Chark and trading up on draft day to take Jameson Williams 12th overall.

On defense, they drafted edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson second overall and defensive end Josh Paschal early in the second round. James Houston, who has shown the versatility and athleticism to play strong-side linebacker and rush the passer, was taken in the sixth round.

Returning veterans such as outside linebacker Charles Harris, outside linebacker Julian Okwara and others already fit the profile to play the attacking 4-3 or the 3-4 in sub packages.

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"We addressed our needs," said defensive line coach Todd Wash. "It worked out exactly the way we planned it out in all our scenarios.

"To get the players we got for our team, it's been really good. We have a lot of tools we can use in certain situations."

There is a big jump from what scouts and coaches see in prospects on tape and how they perform on the field - even in practice.

Overall, Wash likes what he has seen on the field. And there has been a surprise from Hutchinson - a pleasant one.

"I think it really fits the more athletic guys we have," Wash said of the change in philosophy. "The guys we have, were not overly big besides Mac (320-pound tackle Alim McNeill).

"Right now, we have to be able to take the fight to them. I think this really fits, with the athleticism we have up front right now.

"Obviously, the game is spread out. Offenses are starting to become basketball on grass. We have to be able to play on people's edges. We have to affect the quarterback more than we have in the past."

What they've seen in Hutchinson only elevates what can be expected of him.

"I think he's a better athlete than I thought he was," Wash said. "It's kind of a unique way he can lean and bend that we didn't necessarily always see on tape. But out here, we see it, and versus good competition.

"We're very, very excited about where he's at."

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