LIONS INSIDER

Dealing with a jumbled secondary is nothing new for Cunningham, Lions

Posted Nov 16, 2012

It's been an all-too-common theme for the Lions this year as they're likely to head into Sunday's game against Green Bay with only half of their starting secondary.

It's just another week in Allen Park. Three more days of practice and more shuffling around of the secondary.

It's been an all-too-common theme for the Lions this year as they're likely to head into Sunday's game against Green Bay with only half of their starting secondary.

Starting safeties Louis Delmas (knee) and Amari Spievey (concussion) did not practice all week. Delmas is listed as doubtful on Friday's injury report and Spievey has already been ruled out.

If Delmas doesn't play Sunday against Green Bay it'll be his third straight game and Spievey his fourth. Delmas also missed the team's first four games because of an injury to the same knee.

Second-year players Ricardo Silva, who began the season on the practice squad, is likely to start in place of Delmas and Don Carey, who was released in training camp and resigned Nov. 1, could make the start at the other safety spot. He's split reps with Erik Coleman, who's been limited with an eye injury, this week.

"I miss them. I miss them both," Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said of Delmas and Spievey. "They're good kids and they work really hard.

"Obviously, they have something I want. It could be like Christmas when you're a poor kid. I think I was one of those poor kids. I was always hoping for that bike and I never got it."

Cunningham should have cornerback Chris Houston back, though. That's a nice gift. Houston is listed as questionable after leaving last week's game with an ankle injury, but he said this week he's playing.

Drayton Florence, who's eligible to come off short-term injured reserve for Sunday's game, could get the start at right corner. He has been splitting some first-team reps with Jacob Lacey this week at practice.

Just add Sunday to the growing list of games that Cunningham could started a different combination of players in his secondary. He's started the same four players in back-to-back games just once.

Cunningham says he's been rolling a lot of coverages in and out of the game plan each week to help protect the backend of his defense and all the new combinations of players he's had.

"When you've got so many (new) defensive backs every week you've got to protect them somehow," he said.

"One thing you have to do as a signal-caller, one thing I learned a long time ago is you roll the coverages. You never give the quarterback too many of the same looks because they're not stupid.

"Aaron Rodgers probably could have gone to Harvard, easily. You give him the same look and he'll chew you up. If you have a deficiency, you've (got players) in there because of injuries, you've got to protect those guys. You've got to know how to do it so we work really hard at all that."

But according to Cunningham, it ultimately comes down to the front seven getting the Lions through the injuries in the secondary.

"That front seven's making a lot of money," he said. "I don't care if they don't like it, you know, I just show them the paycheck they get. So, they have to protect the rest of us."