Injuries in the secondary early this season forced the Lions to rely on their rookie sixth round pick as early as Week 1.
The Lions feel pretty good about the futures of both cornerbacks, but Green has had the advantage of playing time and is ahead of the curve because of it.
“You know, you talked about those words ‘available,’ ‘reliable,’ ‘accountable,’ he fits all of them,” Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said of Green. “His up-side is big.”
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz went as far to say that he’s never had a player come as far as Green has in such a short amount of time.
“When we started rookie mini-camp he was well behind (in) just everything he needed to do to be a professional football player,” Schwartz said. “Each step along the way he improved. He improved in OTAs, he improved in training camp and he’s improved over the course of the season. He’s gone out there; he’s played well for us.”
Green credits his indoctrination by fire as the reason he’s progressed as much as he has and has earned role.
He's started at times this year and has played just about every role a cornerback can play in this defense at some point this season.
“Going out on the field in practice and taking extra reps and working on my craft is making me a better player,” Green said. “College and the league are two different things and you have to adjust and adapt.”
Greenwood got a three-week chunk of practice under his belt midseason when he was allowed back to the field from the Physically Unable to Perform list. It was determined he wasn’t ready to help on a week-to-week basis after those few weeks, though, and was left on the PUP list.
He still attends meetings and watches practice, but it’s not the same on-the-field training Green is getting.
“I understand the defensive scheme better,” Greenwood said when asked how he’s a better player now than he was in May. “Just as far as understanding and being able to process the information. I’m a smarter player.”
He admitted there was no substitute for actually going out and doing it, though.
“He’s taking advantage of every single meeting,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of Greenwood. “Pays attention, watches film, prepares every single week and he’s made a really good impression that way.
"But he can’t do anything physically. You can only control what you can control and that’s the thing that he can do. It’s disappointing that he can’t go out and do real work on the practice field but he can lift and he can get something out of it.”
Green and Greenwood are certainly at different points in their development, but the Lions are counting on both of them about the same to be big contributors next year.
“They certainly have all those intangible and tangible qualities for a corner,” Cunningham said of the pair. “They both can run, they’re great athletes and their character is what you’re looking for. I mean, they’re outstanding character guys and, you know, this offseason is going to be really important for them.”
FLUELLEN READY TO GO
When the Lions came calling after deciding to place
He says he’s ready for Sunday, too.
This will actually be the second time Fluellen has played the Cardinals this season. He played in two games with the Dolphins earlier this year and one of those games came against the Cardinals.
“The scheme (here) is the same as it was (when I left),” he said. “I just needed a refresher course and was ready to go and I’m ready for Sunday.”
Fluellen might play a bigger role than first thought with
“We brought him in with the anticipation that he would be ready,” Schwartz said of Fluellen. “For all those reasons; he’s been here before, we’d worked him out a little bit before just to keep our eye on him to make sure he was in great shape -- he is. If he’s called upon on Sunday I’m sure he’ll be ready.”