Louis Delmas-Glover Quin combination should afford the Detroit Lions more freedom to be aggressive

Posted Mar 25, 2013

Bringing back Louis Delmas and adding cover-safety Glover Quin will allow defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham the ability to call a more aggressive game plan

The Detroit Lions greatly missed safety Louis Delmas in the eight games he missed last year because of a knee injury.
Louis Delmas
S Louis Delmas

Delmas is unequivocally the defense's emotional leader, and that aspect was certainly missed, but he was also the best cover safety.

In the eight games Delmas missed last season, opposing tight ends combined for 36 catches for 442 yards (55.3 average) and five touchdowns.

In the eight games Delmas played, that number dropped to 24 catches for 169 yards (21.1) and three touchdowns.

The NFL is all about matchups and some of the toughest matchups for defenses the last few seasons have been the new breed of athletic tight ends with big bodies, soft hands and receiver speed. Offensive coordinators are eager to find ways to get those players the ball.

But when a team has two safeties that can cover – which the Lions now have with Delmas re-signing for two years and free agent Glover Quin signing a five-year deal – it's not as easy for offenses to find those mismatches.

"We don't just have one guy that can cover or one guy that can blitz or one guy that can play in the box," Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said last week at the NFL League Meetings in Phoenix when asked about his new safety tandem.

"You have a lot more ability to be able to match up and not let offenses get you mismatched."

Quin was drafted as a corner in 2009 and has also played in the nickel and dime over the last four seasons with the Texans. He's defended 48 passes in four seasons with five interceptions and 314 tackles.

"The things we like is the multidimensional (skills) he has," Schwartz said of Quin.

"He's covered a lot of tight ends one-on-one and part of their dime package (in Houston) was him going down into the box blitzing and covering tight ends man-to-man. That's something that he can do and something Lou (Delmas) does."

Having two safeties with range and cover skills will allow the Lions to be much more versatile on defense and allow defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham to call a more aggressive game.

In the Lions' scheme, Delmas is likely to play the free safety spot and Quin the strong, but Schwartz said there isn't a whole lot of difference between the two and both players can play either one.

"I've always been a guy that liked to tackle and been a physical guy, and so when you go and play safety with a coverage background as a corner, it helps you," said Quin to shortly after signing his new contract.

"You're going up against different athletes as far as running backs and tight ends and so you can use that to your advantage. That helped me out a lot."

Quin seems to be the perfect compliment to Delmas. Offenses should have their hands full trying to find good matchups up the middle against them ... if they can stay on the field together, of course.

"We signed (Quin) before we even knew we were going to get Delmas back," Schwartz said. "Lou was making a couple trips, but (Quin's) talent sort of stood on it's own. It's great to have that combination and hopefully we can keep both of those guys on the field.

"Lou is a little bit more 'show it'. Glover is a little bit more level. I think it'll be a good combination."