Lions fire DB coach Aubrey Pleasant amid 5-game skid

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions have fired defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant, head coach Dan Campbell said Monday.

Pleasant was in his second season in the role in Detroit after previous NFL stops with the Los Angeles Rams, Washington Commanders and Cleveland Browns.

Detroit (1-6) decided to make the move after its fifth straight defeat, a 31-27 loss Sunday to Miami in which Dolphins receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle torched the secondary unit.

Hill caught 12 passes for 188 yards, and Waddle made eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Safeties coach Brian Duker and defensive quality control coach Addison Lynch will take over a substantial role in the defensive backs room as they try to improve. Campbell wants to see them all on the same page moving forward.

"It was a tough decision, but we're a production-based business and after seven weeks, it just felt like this change needed to be made," Campbell said. "So, I wish [Pleasant] the best of luck and I appreciate everything he's put into it. He put his heart and soul into everything he did."

Detroit's defense is allowing a league-high 32.14 points per game. In their franchise history, the 225 points in seven games they've allowed is the second most they've allowed, and teams have now scored at least 24 points in nine straight games against the Lions, dating back to last season.

Pleasant was credited with the development of cornerback Jeff Okudah, the No. 3 pick of the 2020 draft. He is a native of Flint, Michigan.

Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone says the players are feeling a greater sense of urgency to improve after Pleasant's departure. Anzalone has developed a relationship with Pleasant over the past two seasons and called it "disappointing to be in this situation" of watching him lose a job with a family depending on him.

"I feel like it definitely sets the tone is that what's been going on is not acceptable," Anzalone said. "So, yeah, 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."

Campbell said he arrived at the decision to fire Pleasant on Monday morning after deep thought and felt something needed to change immediately. An emotional Campbell addressed the media Monday, calling this in-season firing the "worst part of this job."

"He's got a family and there again, he put everything he had into this. I still believe he's a hell of a coach," Campbell said. "It's just sometimes things don't work out. And absolutely, I do, I see him getting another opportunity and I see him continuing to grow and climb again at some point, somewhere. I do."