Breaking news: Detroit Lions Top Three Safeties suffers…..

The Detroit Lions are getting a versatile weapon back in their secondary, as C.J. Gardner-Johnson could return as soon as Sunday. 

With the likelihood of him returning trending upwards, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn is tasked with putting together the best possible rotation with the group of players at the safety position. 

Gardner-Johnson joins a duo of Ifeatu Melifonwu and Kerby Joseph, which has been functioning at a high level over the last three weeks. Together, Joseph and Melifonwu have combined for four interceptions in the last two games. 

Because the duo have been playing so well, Gardner-Johnson’s presence may not take either off the field. Glenn said Thursday that the team could experiment with unique packages to keep all three players on the field together. 

“Listen, all three of those guys are gonna play because they’re all good players,” Glenn said. “One thing that we try to do as a defense is make sure we have our best players out on the field. Will all three of them be on the field at the same time? Possibly. Will somebody be down that’s up? Possibly. But they’re all gonna play, and you’ll see that.” 

Melifonwu in particular has been a revelation, as he has energized the defense with a stretch of strong play. He made his first start of the season in Week 14 and has recorded a takeaway in each of his last three games. 

Since taking over as a starter for Tracy Walker III, Melifonwu has recorded 21 tackles, three for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble. Injuries plagued the start of his career, but he appears to have found a groove at the end of his third season. 

“Coming from corner to being a safety, man, that’s a transition. There’s a number of things he had to learn, and I think he’s gonna really understand that position in totality,” Glenn explained. “So not only is he understanding from a back-end perspective, he also understands where he fits in the paint. Man, with the help of Alex, Jack, Barnes, all those guys working together, he really understands that. He understands exactly how to blitz, also, and that’s really one of his strong points. You see it happening in practice, and he’s just transitioning it from practice over to the field.” 

Preparing for Jefferson

As a former NFL defensive back, Glenn knows the challenge that comes with being matched up against one of the league’s best receivers. On Sunday, the Lions will have this battle against Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson. 

When these two teams met two weeks ago, Jefferson had six catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. Glenn unpacked his thoughts on how he coaches players who encounter battles such as what Detroit is up against Sunday. 

“Don’t get beat. That’s any receiver. In this league, when you play aggressive, I mean some people call it risk-reward,” Glenn explained. “It’s the fact that you always want to have that mindset. As a corner, man, things are gonna happen, you’re gonna get beat. But, man, it’s about how you react to the next plays that come up. To me, that’s the most important thing.”

The Lions’ secondary was beaten up by Dallas wideout CeeDee Lamb, who recorded 227 receiving yards and a score last week. However, the defense has a whole limited Dallas to just 20 points in what was an impressive effort. 

Defensively, they bent but rarely broke. This performance met Glenn’s ideal philosophy that he preaches daily. 

“Our philosophy has always been to limit points, and I thought we did a pretty good job with that against Dallas and we want to continue to do that,” Glenn stated. “That’s the number one thing we try to do for the most part. We know there’s good players in this league, we do everything we can to take that player out.”

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