Bill Bentley making sure he's noticed early in training camp

Posted Jul 27, 2013

Bentley has stood out during the first two days of camp and he's let anyone within earshot know about it

One thing has become apparent over the first two days of Detroit Lions training camp in Allen Park. The louder second-year cornerback Bill Bentley is the better.

Bentley (5-10, 176) isn't the biggest cornerback on the Lions roster, but he is physical, he is fast and he certainly isn't short on confidence.

Bill BentleyCB Bill Bentley

Bentley has stood out during the first two days of camp and he's let anyone within earshot know about it.

"That's part of his persona," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. "Talking on the field. As long as it doesn't distract the other people, I think it's good.

"You have to have some confidence to play the corner position. He does. He's healthy. He's having fun out here. And I like to see it."

So too do his defensive teammates.

"His technique got better," veteran cornerback Chris Houston said of Bentley. "He's confident. He's talking noise out there and that's how I like to see him. The louder he is the better he's playing."

And that's been pretty good to kick off camp.

Bentley has received a lot of reps at the nickel cornerback spot and seems to have found a good fit for his skill set. He's made a couple of interceptions already and has gotten his hands on a number of other passes.

"Bill Bentley, I've seen him grow tremendously and I'm excited for him," said defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who singled out Bentley when answering a question Saturday about the defense needing to force more turnovers this season.

Bentley does have some experience inside. He played the nickel a little bit during his freshman and senior seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette and said he got the hang of it a little bit then.

"I'll play anywhere my team needs me to play," he said. "It's just that simple."

Bentley won the starting right cornerback spot out of training camp as a rookie last year, but played in just four games after suffering a shoulder injury in the preseason. Even in those four games, he wasn't 100 percent.

Surgery has taken care of the shoulder issue and Bentley is back to focusing on football and making plays.

"It's my second year in this defense and I know where the soft spots are and what spots I can give up on the field and what spots I can't," Bentley said.

"My second year in this defense, knowing where my help is coming from is much better and it's helping me play (better) and be more comfortable."

Nate Burleson has been on the receiving end of some of Bentley's trash talk in camp. The two have been paired up quite a bit, but a notorious talker himself, Burleson has liked the back and forth exchange.

Even more so, he likes how the young cornerback is stepping up and making plays.

"He repeats a lot of the same things. That's a rookie mistake for trash talking," Burleson said with a laugh. "I came from Seattle and that's the home of the Sonics and Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, so I know how to trash talk with the best of them.

"But he's doing a good job. He's coming into his own. He's finding a lot of comfort in the slot right now, which is good, and is really what we need him to do. He's going to be a big part of our defense."

The Lions play in the nickel almost 50 percent of their defensive snaps, so Burleson is right, the Lions are going to need a playmaker to arise from that spot. The defense recorded only 11 interceptions last season, ranking 23rd in the NFL. They need more playmakers on the field and more hands on footballs in the secondary.

The first two days of training camp make up a small sample size, but Bentley is providing plays early.