CB Bill Bentley wants to stay inside in the slot moving forward

Posted Jan 7, 2014

Bill Bentley played outside as a rookie, but says he’s found his niche as a slot cornerback in the nickel

Detroit Lions players are well aware the hiring of a new coaching staff this offseason means changes are coming.

"It’s going to be a clean slate," said tight end Joseph Fauria, who finished his rookie season with seven touchdowns. "We have to do it all over again.

"Basically, we’re all going to be rookies because we’re trying to prove ourselves to a new coaching staff."

Some current players might not fit the offensive and defensive schemes set up by the new staff, others could see their roles change completely.

Second-year cornerback Bill Bentley knows he’ll have to prove himself to the new coaching staff, just like everyone else, but is hoping he can keep his role as a slot cornerback in the nickel.

Bentley, a third-round pick in 2012, earned a starting spot on the outside out of training camp as a rookie last year. He played in only four games, however, before his season ended due to a shoulder injury.

Bill BentleyCB Bill Bentley (Photo: Gavin Smith)

He was moved inside into the slot cornerback position this year and seemed to find his niche after a bit of an adjustment period. Bentley was picked on in a loss at Arizona Week 2, where two pass interference penalties led to two Cardinals touchdowns.

But Bentley got progressively better as the year moved on.

He is one of the fastest players on the team and plays a more physical brand of football than his 5-foot-10, 176-pound frame might suggest.

"We’ll find out when the new coaches come in where they’d like me to be at, but I definitely love the inside," Bentley said. "That’s where my game is based at and I’m definitely comfortable on the inside. I think that’s where I can make my name in this league."

The new coaching staff will have a number of decisions to make when it comes to the cornerback position.

Does Bentley fit their scheme inside? Is second-round pick Darius Slay ready to start? Can Chris Houston bounce back from a disappointing season? Has Chris Greenwood or Jonte Green developed enough to earn playing time?

The Lions are surely to add personnel to the mix, too, either via the draft of free agency.

Bentley said he’s going to split his time working out in the offseason between Detroit and Florida and is looking forward to an offseason to focus on refining his skills from the slot position.