New defensive end
The other reason was the familiarity with some of the Lions' new coaches on defense.
“The Lions, they were a familiar defense," Tapp said in a conference call Friday. "They run a familiar defense as far as a 4-3. Last year was my first year running a 3-4 defense, where I was an outside linebacker. It was cool, but I think I’m a defensive end at heart, considering that’s what I played throughout high school, college and then my first seven years in the League.
"So, I’m very comfortable at that position. I’m familiar with Coach (Jim) Washburn. He was my defensive line coach out in Philadelphia for two years. Teryl Austin’s the (defensive) coordinator. He was the defensive backs coach in Seattle when I first got drafted there eight years ago. So, I like what’s going on, I like what they told me about the defense and where we’re trying to go as an entire unit. The rest of the guys they already have on the d-line, we can be a powerful force.”
Head coach Jim Caldwell liked the familiarity Washburn and Tapp had and made it an easy sell for him.
“I think anytime that you have an individual that has some past experience with someone on your staff, it gives you a better idea other than what you see on film,” Caldwell said. “It can be an indication of what you are going to get each and every day, things that don’t show up just in terms of watching every one of his tapes from previous years.
“So, that always helps. He’ll be a quality guy in our meeting rooms, he’ll be a quality guy in terms of leadership on our team and he certainly will be able to work well within our scheme on the field as well.”
He played in 11 games in Washington last season with one sack, but had a couple seasons with 7 and 5.5 sacks, respectively, earlier in his career in Seattle.
Tapp says Lions fans can expect his earlier production in Detroit.
“The stat line doesn’t always tell the story, let’s get that first and foremost," Tapp said. "I’m the same player that I was coming out of the draft, I’m just a few more years old, a few more years wiser.
"I’ve been placed in different situations throughout the course of my career. In Seattle, I was kind of the guy, and then came in and brought a first-round draft pick in and he was the guy. That’s the nature of the business. Same thing getting traded to Philadelphia. I was behind Trent Cole, a great individual player. He just got a major deal. They drafted another first-round draft pick in Brandon Graham. Then coming into DC last year, it was my first year playing outside linebacker and having to learn, I learned from Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, two Pro Bowl, All-Pro players.
"So, let’s clear that up first. Stats don’t always tell the story. The only thing I can definitely tell you guys, the faithful media for the Detroit Lions in the area and the fans, you want to get an awesome player. I’m going to give my all every time I hit that field, and I’m very sure you’re going to be happy with the results that happen.”
He has 267 career tackles and 25 sacks in eight seasons.