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News » Detroit Lions Inside Slant 2009-05-15


Detroit Lions Inside Slant 2009-05-15


Detroit Lions Inside Slant 2009-05-15
The Lions' defense has been horrible the past two years. Beyond horrible.


It ranked last in average yards and points allowed in both 2007 and '08, and last year the Lions allowed 517 points, second-most in the history of the NFL.

But the Lions have overhauled the defense this offseason, even though they used their first two draft picks on offensive players: quarterback Matthew Stafford and tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

The Lions have a new coaching staff, a new scheme and several new players. More than half the starters on defense might be different.

"The jury's out," defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said. "This time of the year, you've got to be careful what you say, because it might catch you in the end. But overall, I think on defense I feel pretty good with the players we got."

The Lions' new coach, Jim Schwartz, was Tennessee's defensive coordinator the past eight years. He has ditched the Tampa Two philosophy.

Schwartz wants bigger, stronger players funneling ballcarriers into the middle, instead of smaller, quicker players funneling ballcarriers to the outside. He wants more man-to-man coverage and blitzing, less zone. He wants more versatility.

The Lions have three new cornerbacks: Phillip Buchanon, Anthony Henry and Eric King. They have two new linebackers: Larry Foote and Julian Peterson. They have a new defensive tackle: Grady Jackson. They could still add a new defensive end: free agent Kevin Carter.

Those are just the highlights, and that doesn't include draft picks like safety Louis Delmas and linebacker DeAndre Levy.

"I'm pleased with what happened in the draft," said Cunningham, who raved about Delmas' performance in rookie orientation and said he was pleased with Levy's.

The Lions still have a long way to go, though -- even in their evaluation of the holdovers.

"I'm still finding out the way they were coached," Cunningham said. "I think it's a process of understanding what they were asked to do, what we're asking them to do, and evaluating them athletically and in the meeting rooms. So it's a combination of a lot of things.

"You know America, when they got McDonald's hamburgers, everything became easy. Our job is supposed to be that we have the answers in 12 hours. But this is a process all the way through camp and preseason."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 15, 2009

Leigh Bodden Name: Leigh Bodden
#30
Position: DB
Age: 26
Experience: 6 years
College: Duquesne
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