LIONS INSIDER

NOTEBOOK: DeAndre Levy's experience shining through; trench play and more

Posted Oct 13, 2013

Linebacker DeAndre Levy is in his fifth season in the Lions defensive scheme and is playing at a Pro Bowl level early this season

DeAndre Levy is on some kind of pace for the Detroit Lions.

His two interceptions in Sunday’s 31-17 victory in Cleveland increase his season total to four. He’s the first Lions linebacker to have at least four interceptions in a season since Jimmy Williams had five in 1989. Levy has already returned one of those for a touchdown (another was called back by penalty) and he still has 10 games to go.

Levy is playing in his fifth season in Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham's scheme and it’s that comfort and experience that Schwartz attributes to Levy’s playmaking prowess early on this season.

"He’s not doing anything a whole lot different," Schwartz said. "He has always had eyes for the football but the biggest thing is that he is now an experienced player.

"It’s not just executing the defensive scheme, he is very aware of what the offense is doing."

Levy had some uncharacteristic plays in the first half in the form of missed tackles and a blown assignment on a Browns short touchdown pass, but he also made plays when it counted.

"He put himself in great positions," safety Louis Delmas said of Levy. "I think he takes coaching very well and he listens to the coaches. I think (Jim) Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham and all our defensive coaches put him in the right positions to make plays, it’s just a matter of him going out and making the plays. Obviously he made two great interceptions and a couple of big tackles."

Levy finished leading the team in tackles (7) for a second-straight week, but it wasn’t good enough for Levy's standards.

"Other than the two picks I don’t think I played too well," he said. "I think we came out at halftime and we responded to the coaches challenge. We made the corrections and performed good in the second half."

Especially, Levy, who’s been one of the real great performers on defense for the Lions so far this season.

TRENCH PLAY

The Browns entered the game giving up the second most sacks in the NFL with 22.

But anyone who watched the first half of Sunday’s game would have thought the Browns featured five Pro Bowl offensive lineman.

The Lions were ineffective getting to Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden all throughout the first half.

The Browns had 115 rushing yards in the first half and 135 passing with two touchdowns. The Lions had zero sacks in the first 30 minutes.

The second half was an entirely different story, though.

"I can definitely say that it was very emotional and very high," Delmas said of the mood in the locker room at halftime. "We came out with a chip on our shoulders in the second half."

The defensive line was active and Cunningham got aggressive in his blitz package and the defense blanked the Browns in the second half. They had two sacks, four quarterback hits and forced a fumble in the last 30 minutes.

Their improved play was one of the differences in the second half.

INJURY REPORT

Running back Joique Bell and cornerback Rashean Mathis left the game and did not finish.

Bell left in the fourth quarter with injured ribs and Mathis in the first half with a groin injury.

"I don’t think we have anybody that is more than day-to-day," Schwartz said after the game.

Some fans have expressed concern over Glover Quin leaving the game late in the second half. Don't worry. Quin reassures his Twitter followers he was just suffering from muscle cramps.

ROLE PLAYERS

Receiver Kris Durham will remember the couple drops he had in the game, and will probably relive them over the course of the week.

But he also made a career-high eight catches for 83 yards in a game where All Pro receiver Calvin Johnson wasn’t 100 percent. That shouldn’t go unnoticed.

"He had some passes that he probably can hold on in that first half but he has come up with some really big plays for us, some big first downs," Schwartz said. "Not just catching the ball but making first downs. We got contributions out of a lot of guys in there, I think that is something we’ve needed."

Patrick Edwards, unfortunately, was not one of those players.

Edwards has been a bit of a mystery this year.

He earned a starting role out of training camp but his production hasn’t equaled the promotion.  Granted, he has battled a high ankle sprain the last few weeks, but he was targeted three times in Cleveland, all three on deep passes, and couldn’t come up with any of them.

One would have been a nice diving catch, but for a player trying to break through, that’s a play that needs to be made.

The two others were passes that Edwards didn’t attack the ball and try to make a play. He drifted. As a result, both went incomplete and one was intercepted.

The Lions coaches love Edwards’ speed and his ability to stretch the field, but at what point does he have to start making plays to earn the reps?