MOBILE, ALA. -- New Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin says the two biggest defensive influences in his career have been Ray Rhodes and Chuck Pagano.
Austin worked with Rhodes in Seattle and Pagano and Indianapolis.
Austin said the two things he learned most working under Rhodes and Pagano was how to deal with players and prepare.
When asked about what kind of defense Austin wants to bring to Detroit, he said he’s determined to have an aggressive defense that rushes from multiple fronts in an attempt keep opponents off balance.
"I would hope we’re aggressive, smart and that we’re defensively going to make some plays on the ball, but keep the ball in front of us," he said. "Not let ball get out in the run or the pass. I know it’s going to happen because it’s the NFL, but cut those things down and keep them to a minimum."
The Lions defense struggled to keep those plays to a minimum this past season.
Detroit was last in the NFL in 2013 in the average number of plays it took for opponents to score (6.77). Opponents also scored 187 points outside of the red zone on big plays, the most in the NFL. The league average was 102 points.
"We’re going to be multiple, bring some pressure, deal with a four-man rush and hopefully they don’t know which way we’re coming," Austin said. "The thing that I’ve learned is that a lot of times when offenses have a hard time iding where you’re coming from they have a hard time blocking.
"We’ll try to do some things and give them some different looks and try to put our players in the best position to make plays. At the end of the day that’s really it. You want to put your guys in the best position to make plays."
Head coach Jim Caldwell talked on Monday about how he wanted someone with extensive experience in the secondary to head up his defense.
Austin talked about the benefits of that on Tuesday.
"You have to work in the run and the pass and you see everything from a different perspective," Austin said of being a secondary coach. "I think working from back to front gives me a good idea. I know how the linebackers and line have to work, because if they don’t work real well they get on my guys real fast.
"Coverage wise, the linebackers and secondary has to work together to be successful. So from that perspective I’m not oblivious to what’s behind me or in front of us."