COORDINATOR CUT-UP

COORDINATOR CUT-UP: "Chris Greenwood is going to be a really good player"

Posted Dec 25, 2013

Pressed into duty last week, second-year cornerback Chris Greenwood showed he’s got a lot of promise

It isn’t easy to take any positives out of last week’s loss to the New York Giants. A loss that eliminated the Detroit Lions from playoff contention.

However, if there was one bright spot for head coach Jim Schwartz and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, it’s the play of their young cornerbacks, particularly Chris Greenwood.

Chris GreenwoodCB Chris Greenwood (Photo: Gavin Smith)

The Lions had to rely heavily on second-year players Jonte Green, Bill Bentley and Greenwood last week with starters Chris Houston (toe) and Rashean Mathis (illness) unable to play.

"Well overall, losing the game took a lot out of all of us, but my high point was Chris Greenwood," Cunningham told Detroitlions.com.

Greenwood was forced into action in the second quarter when Bentley, who started for Houston, suffered a concussion. Greenwood, 24, made his NFL debut just a week prior against Baltimore, playing five special teams snaps. He played 43 snaps at cornerback last week vs. Giants.

"There were a lot of questions about Chris Greenwood, but I have always believed in him," Cunningham said. "He reminds me a lot of the guys I used to have. He is tall, he’s long, he’s fast, and he is really smart."

Greenwood (6-1, 195), who grew up in Detroit and played his college football at Albion, missed his entire rookie season because of abdominal injury. He missed a good portion of training camp this year because of a hamstring injury. As a result, the Lions were forced to cut their fifth-round pick in 2012 during the final cuts of training camp this year, but he was signed back to the practice squad on Sept. 1.

Following a brief stint on the Dallas Cowboys’ active roster after they signed him off the Lions practice squad in late September, the Lions signed him back to their practice squad after he was released by the Cowboys after three games.

He was promoted to the Lions active roster Dec. 7 when Darius Slay suffered a knee injury and saw his first real extensive playing time last week. He finished with four tackles.

"He went out there and made some outstanding tackles, and their best receiver tried to beat him on a lot of go routes, not a lot but a good hand full," Cunningham said.

"It looked like he was jogging with him and there is no doubt that he is the fastest guy on both sides of the ball. I have been waiting for this for a year and a half now… If you take anything out of this game he is going to be a really good player."

Cunningham also spoke on a couple of other points from last week’s game.

On the play of his defense in the second half: "The second half they didn’t get a first down till the second to last drive. I think they laid it on the line, and I don’t know what else we could have done. I think we made a mistake on the touchdown pass, that shouldn’t have happened. One of our guys got out of place and we still almost separated the ball form him. It’s a tough pill to swallow. The defense have been getting better, I think the last two weeks they have scored one touchdown … we needed a win and that’s the bottom line."

On Detroit's second-ranked red zone defense: "Going into the season we knew there was three things we had to get done, we had to shut them down in the running game, which you know we are one of the best teams in the league doing that. We lead the NFL in third down defense and we lead the NFL in red zone defense, and those are all of the objectives, not necessary to lead it because it is really difficult, but those three categories have always been a part of my life and it has been in Jim’s life too. I think they have accomplished some really good things, and it is just sad that we can’t get in."

On the performance of DT Nick Fairley against the Giants: "It was funny before the game I told Jim Washburn, I wanted to talk to a couple of their guys, I said. 'I’m not going to coach them, I just need to talk to them.' I said, 'You three guys, Willie Young, Nick and (Ndamukong) Suh, you owe me. I need the best game of your life today.' They gave me a big hug and said, 'Don’t worry, we are going to play.' Nick lead the charge. He set up one sack for Ziggy. He was very enthusiastic. He had a hard time at the beginning of the year, but he showed up about a third of the way through playing consistently. He is a very good player."