Aaron Glenn has the “it” factor the Broncos have been missing

Lions safety Will Harris hugs defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn during warmups before the game against the Packers on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at Ford Field.

The Denver Broncos have scheduled an interview with a current member of the Detroit Lions coaching staff, but don’t let the Lions’ poor 2021 season scare you off.

Aaron Glenn finished his lone season as a defensive coordinator in the NFL with the Lions this year and has set himself on a promising trajectory. The former Pro-Bowl defensive back is likely on the path to becoming a head coach in the NFL.

Glenn is one of the 10 candidates the Broncos have requested an interview with, and first in line to meet with general manager George Paton.

Along with Glenn, the list includes Jerod Mayo, Dan QuinnKellen Moore, Nathaniel Hackett, Eric Bieniemy, Jonathan Gannon, Luke Getsy, Brian Callahan, and Kevin O’Connell.

Though Glenn has only been a coordinator for one season, this is not the first time he has been considered for a head-coaching vacancy.

Prior to joining Dan Campbell in Detroit Glenn, interviewed for the New York Jets head coaching job last year, which ultimately went to former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

Glenn downplayed the opportunity to be a head coach when asked last week and said he was more focused on succeeding in his current role.

“I want to be the best coordinator the Lions ever had. That’s all I think about,” Glenn said. “…Listen, this is a job that I have right now, and I want to be the best I can be at it. And I want to be the best that ever came through Detroit. I want you guys to say that at some point, he was the best coordinator ever. That’s what my goal is.”

On the surface, Glenn’s resume may not impress fans. Per Pro Football Reference, Glenn’s defense finished at the bottom of the NFL in most major categories this season, including yards (29th), points (31st), third-down percentage (29th), and red zone percentage (31st).

However, the statistical output does not provide the entire story of the job Glenn has done for the Lions.

Despite being ravaged by injuries to many key contributors, such as cornerback Jeff Okudah, edge rushers Romeo Okwara and Trey Flowers, the Lions allowed 4.9 fewer points per game and 40 fewer yards per game than last season’s defense.

Not only did Glenn’s unit show year-over-year improvement, but it also continued to improve as the season wore on. In the second half of the season, the defense was a respectable unit. They allowed 24.8 points per game over the final nine games, compared to the 30.5 per game the team gave up over their first eight.

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