Gunther Cunningham is a numbers guy.
The Lions defensive coordinator likes statistics, charts and analysis to back up what his eyes might tell him on the field or on tape.
Cunningham says he's been charting every football thrown at his linebackers and defensive backs this first week of camp and the numbers are telling him that second-year cornerback
"Bill Bentley's the hardest-working guy on our team and it's showing," Cunningham said after Friday's practice. "The first week, the offense has 25-percent success (against him). Well, Ike Taylor's the No. 1 guy in the NFL with 39.9 (allowing the lowest completion percentage)."
Cunningham joked that Bentley might have dropped to 26 percent after allowing a couple catches on Friday, but we get the point.
"If he keeps going at this pace, you've got a guy that can cover," Cunningham said. "That statistic may not mean much to some people, but to a coach it means a lot, because he's competing every day."
Bentley has gotten every first-team rep at the nickel cornerback spot during camp and also some second-team reps on the outside.
The former third-round pick, remember, won the starting right cornerback spot out of training camp last year, but played in only four games after suffering a shoulder injury in the preseason.
Even when out, Cunningham said Bentley stayed a student of the game, and when the offseason program came, he took off.
"It benefitted me," Bentley said of staying involved last year. "When I (got back) on the field just being able to focus in on my position and now knowing where my help was at and reading route concepts. I kind of became a student of the game."
Bentley has easily been one of the standout players the first week of training camp. Can he keep it up? Can he stay healthy? Can the completion percentage against him stay as low as it is?
"I'm just coming out having fun," Bentley said. "Just doing what I have to do, trying to execute my assignment to the best of my ability and playing within the scheme of the defense. I'm glad to just be back on the field having fun."