When the Detroit Lions hired Dan Campbell as its new head coach, he assembled his coaching staff rather quickly, making Aaron Glenn one of his first reported hires. Glenn, 48, coming to Detroit should not have shocked anyone, especially after what New Orleans Saints GM Mickey Loomis said previously.
And to this day, that quote by Loomis is now prophetic.
During a conversation with Lions’ team president Rod Wood, Loomis told Wood that Dan Campbell is the coach that other coaches would run to Detroit to be a part of his staff. As most know by now, Campbell left his position as the Saints’ assistant head coach and tight end coach to take his promotion in Detroit. When Loomis said this quote, he probably didn’t think Glenn would bolt to Detroit with Campbell. However, when you begin to peel back some layers, he should’ve seen it coming. Both Glenn and Campbell have ties that precede being on the Saints coaching staff.
Glenn, 48, played with Campbell in 2006 as members of the Dallas Cowboys under then-head coach Bill Parcells. According to several reports, both draw their coaching philosophy from Parcells. Additionally, they both played at Texas A&M. Although they did not play together in college, it’s safe to surmise that those Aggie ties run deep. With so many commonalities between the coaches, Glenn coming to Detroit with Campbell makes sense, especially given his background.
Glenn isn’t only a respected coach, but his football career was pretty stellar.
Born and raised in Humble, TX, Glenn was an impressive football player dating back to his teenage days. At Nimitz High School, Glenn was a four-year letterman in football while also lettering in basketball and track. Glenn played both sides of the ball in his senior year as a running and defensive back, tallying over 1,000 yards rushing and seven interceptions.
Glenn originally signed his letter of intent to play collegiate ball at Purdue but instead chose the JuCo (junior college) route, playing for Navarro College. At Navarro, Glenn won All-America honors before transferring to Texas A&M.
And that is where things began to take off for him.
While playing for the Aggies, Glenn was the Southwest Conference (SWC) “Newcomer of the Year.” Additionally, he won all-conference honors twice. Upon leaving Texas A&M, Glenn left with several record. He was the school’s all-time leader in defended passes in one season, punt return yards in a game, and punt-return average for a season.
His pro career wasn’t too shabby either.
After leaving Texas A&M, Aaron Glenn became the New York Jets’ 12th overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft; kicking off a 15-year career NFL where he achieved accolades with several teams. While also playing for Cowboys, Jaguars, and Saints, Glenn became a three-time Pro Bowler and New York Jets All-Time Four-Decade team. He finished his career with 634 tackles, 41 interceptions with six returned for touchdowns, and six forced fumbles.
And if you don’t think that makes him a “baller,” there’s more.
Glenn also finished top-ten in interceptions, and interceptions returned for touchdowns on three separate occasions.
After his pro career ended, Glenn stepped away from the NFL for several seasons. He returned in 2012 as a personnel scout for Jets. He then headed to the Cleveland Browns as an assistant defensive backs coach in 2014. Glenn joined the Saints in 2016 as the defensive backs coach. His impact on the defense was immediate. Before the Saints brought Glenn aboard, their secondary had no bragging points. The defense allowed a 116.2 passer rating, which is one of the worst in the league. That all changed with Glenn. With Glenn guiding the secondary, the Saints’ defense kept that number under 90.0 in the three of the past four seasons. The type of success that he had with the Saints in such a short time will give Lions’ fans hope for what he can accomplish in the Motor City.
After all, Glenn can have success in New Orleans, then why can’t he in Detroit?
Before heading to the Cincinnati Bengals, Vonn Bell saw significant growth each season while with the Saints. In his last season with the Saints (2019), Bell had 66 tackles, two forced fumbles (recovering five), and one interception. His former teammate (and current Saints player), Marcus Williams, is also turning into excellent safety. In his four years in the league –all where Glenn has coached him–Williams has totaled 187 tackles and 13 interceptions. There’s also Marshon Lattimore, who at 21-years-old became the youngest Saints’ player to reach the Pro Bowl. He was also the franchise’s first AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Their success is a credit to the teaching of Aaron Glenn, who, as mentioned above, had a stellar professional career. The Lions’ secondary has been one of the team’s worst units over the past few seasons. It also doesn’t help that the Lions arguably drafted Jeff Okudah too high last year.
For Okudah to be the third overall pick in last year’s draft, his return on value was minimal. However, with Glenn coming to town, fans are hopeful that his success with the Saints’ secondary can save Okudah’s career from falling to the wayside. There’s also one thing to keep in mind, and that’s Glenn’s comments regarding the secondary in his introductory press conference. Glenn acknowledged that the secondary needs work in that presser. Despite, he mentioned that their lack of confidence was the most significant issue he saw on tape. It’s something that he feels he can come in and fix.
As with anything in life, it all sounds good on paper. That is no different with Aaron Glenn coming to Detroit with his track record of success. Nevertheless, Glenn, as Dan Campbell’s first reported coaching hire says quite a bit, and Lions’ fans should be excited.