LIONS INSIDER

Former player and current analyst Tim Ryan looks forward to watching the Lions' linemen

Posted Sep 8, 2012

Ryan, who will call Sunday's Lions-Rams game on FOX, believes the Lions have the best group of eight defensive linemen in football.

Former Bears defensive lineman and current FOX NFL analyst Tim Ryan says he can’t help but instantly gravitate toward the play of the offensive and defensive lines when he calls a game.

“It’s just where my perspective is,” said Ryan who, along with Chris Myers, is calling the Lions game on FOX Sunday. “I try to go big picture, but I definitely go to the pit right away.”

That’s why Ryan is particularly excited to be in Detroit this weekend watching a Lions team that he says features the best group of eight defensive linemen in football.

“You have four backups that could be starters on 30 other teams in the NFL. Period,” Ryan said of the Lions Friday. “It’s not just their versatility and what they can do, but they do it at a high level.

Sammie Hill is not only a bull rusher, he can get to an edge. Ndamukong (Suh) is not only brutally strong, but he can get you with a juke and some quicks. You can say the same thing for Corey (Williams). And then the edge rushers are sickening.

“What makes it all work is their talent mixed with a red-lining motor all the time. They’ve all kind of taken Kyle’s (Vanden Bosch) perspective on things and his snap-to-the whistle approach every play.”

The Lions ranked fourth in the NFL with 35 sacks coming by way of their defensive line last season. Ryan said the one thing that has stuck out to him about the Lions defensive front is how relentless the unit is on film.

“When you have eight it’s easier to play snap-to-whistle every play,” he said. “I think Curtis Martin said it best at the Hall of Fame ceremony when he said one of Bill Parcells’ “Parcellisms” was that you never want to leave the huddle because you never really know who’s coming into the huddle.

“As a starter, there are four guys chomping at the bit that are quality players trying to get on the field; there’s not a lot of room not to go snap-to-whistle.”

Ryan has a good point.

Reserve defensive end Willie Young has already shown his playmaking ability and has earned more reps early this season.

Despite being the 13th-overall pick in the 2011 draft, defensive tackle Nick Fairley hasn't been a starter because of the talent in front of him on the depth chart.

The Lions are good upfront and it's not just because of the starting four, according to Ryan.