Film room: How the Kansas City Chiefs can defeat the Detroit Lions
By Grant Tuttle
Detroit’s cornerbacks, personnel, and more
Notes from Travis Steffen
Justin Coleman – He’s having an outstanding season with the Lions and is used primarily a slot cornerback, but he will travel outside depending on matchups. He was extremely dominant in Week 3 traveling with Nelson Agholor. In fact, the only time that Agholor could get the ball was either when the Lions were in base packages with Coleman not on the field, stacking Agholor with Coleman in a deep off-man alignment and using a quick crosser for big separation or screen, or by picking Coleman at the line of scrimmage. Agholor’s two touchdowns came off a pick play and a dump in the flat when Coleman was in off-man coverage.
Coleman has extremely fluid hips and outstanding ball skills when in press man coverages. Press man is where he excels and his aggressiveness, not only within the first five yards but to disrupt routes deep down the field without drawing flags, is exceptional. He has a great ability to play off the hands of the receiver with excellent timing at the catch point to break up passes with his back to the QB. He seems to have a very clear understanding of how to disrupt routes at the line of scrimmage. His athletic ability, ball skills, and aggressive demeanor make him an extremely good slot corner playing in a man coverage scheme as the Lions do.
Rahaan Melvin – This is the corner you will see on bigger, possession receivers or tight ends. He’s not the twitchy, short-area quickness type of corner that you want on someone like Agholor. He will move around from outside to inside covering the bigger targets. Very good at attacking contested throws with 5 pass deflections already on the season.
Darius Slay – He is used to shadow number #1 wide receivers. However, if he is unable to go, it will likely be Mike Ford who comes in to replace him, which would be a major concern for the Lions. When Slay left the game in Week 3, Wentz targeted Ford numerous times immediately and he gave up a couple of big plays. Look for Ford if Slay is unable to go and for Mahomes to exploit that situation.
Melvin and Coleman both struggle in deep off-man alignments where they cannot get hands on the receiver to disrupt the route. Coleman has the short-area quickness and twitch in his game to play in shallow zone coverages and break with just about any route and any receiver. Getting them in off-man with stacked formations and having the receiver work away from Coleman is the best way to get him the ball.