Lions cornerback Rashaan Melvin, a free-agent pickup, talked Sunday about settling in to his new team, and what the addition of DT Mike Daniels means. By Matt Schoch, Special to The Detroit News
Allen Park — A pair of former New England teammates in 2015, defensive backs Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin do sound a lot like their old head coach when it comes to a winning philosophy.
“Everybody has to do their own job,” Melvin said Sunday, with Coleman later adding that for team success, “you’ve got to win your play on your team against the person you’re going against.”
The Belichickian-speak is not new around Allen Park in head coach Matt Patricia’s second year. But effusive praise for the former Patriots defensive coordinator does stand in contrast to the story line out of last year’s 6-10 campaign.
A few minutes after new defensive tackle Mike Daniels called Patricia a “genius” following practice Sunday, Melvin stood with his back against the same wall, surrounded by reporters and also complimented his new — and old — coach, Patricia.
“He don’t take no BS,” Melvin said. “He’s a serious guy. He wants the best for this team, he wants the best for this organization. And he wants us to go out there and compete at a high level, and all you can do is respect that as a player for a coach like that.”
The second-year coach, who again prowled around the practice field Sunday in an all-terrain vehicle because of a recent surgery, had both cornerbacks in New England and helped usher both of their signings this summer.
In games Melvin played during his first two seasons, his Baltimore and New England teams went 8-4. His Ravens lost to New England in the 2014-15 playoffs, and he joined the Patriots the following season, along with Coleman, an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee.
Melvin, 29, suffered a rash of losing seasons with Indianapolis and Oakland over the next three, going 14-25 in games he played while grabbing four interceptions over the last two seasons.
A one-year, $3.5 million deal reunited him in Detroit this offseason with his old coordinator, joining ex-Patriots Coleman, Danny Amendola and Trey Flowers as new Lions.
“Anytime you get a player to come out and be comfortable in a scheme that he is accustomed to playing, it makes the game a lot easier, makes the game funner,” Melvin said. “It makes you want to go out and compete and win for your team, and for your organization.”
Coleman, who had three touchdowns in the last two seasons for Seattle, had a 36-16 career regular season record and has played in three playoff games.
The Lions locked up the 26-year-old with a four-year, $36 million contract with the idea that his versatility could help coverage on the inside and outside.
It’s a defense that, with the addition of Daniels, suddenly appears like it could be very stout up front.
That could be a winning formula, according to the cornerbacks who would know.
“It makes it a lot easier,” Coleman said. “As long as their doing their job, we’re doing our job. I feel like we’ll be accomplishing a lot.”
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.