Position Preview: Safeties

Posted Jul 25, 2013

With Glover Quin and Louis Delmas slated as the starting safeties, Tim Twentyman says the Lions could have some very tough decisions to make at the position

The Lions look to be strong up the middle of their defense this season with defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, a healthy Stephen Tulloch at middle linebacker and safeties Glover Quin and Louis Delmas.

One of the keys for this defense in 2013 is to keep Delmas healthy and on the field. They do that, and they might have one of the better young safety duos in the NFL.

With training camp just a day away, we continue our look at the roster with a breakdown of the safety position.


Don Carey 5-11 192 26 5 Norfolk State
Louis Delmas 5-11 202 26 5 Western Michigan
Chris Hope 6-0 208 32 12 Florida State
Tyrell Johnson 6-0 207 28 6 Arkansas State
Martavius Neloms 6-0 189 21 R Kentucky
Glover Quin 6-0 209 27 5 New Mexico
Ricardo Silva 6-3 225 25 2 Hampton
Amari Spievey 5-11 195 25 4 Iowa
John Wendling 6-1 222 30 7 Wyoming


Don Carey 9 39 2 5 0
Louis Delmas 8 38 1 2 0
Chris Hope (w/Atl) 16 26 0 0 0
Tyrell Johnson 4 3 0 0 0
Martavius Neloms (college) 12 53 1 1 2
Glover Quin (w/Hou) 16 84 2 14 2
Ricardo Silva 10 40 1 3 0
Amari Spievey 5 21 0 0 0
John Wendling 16 29 0 0 0


29.5: 3rd down conversion percentage for opponents in the red zone against the Lions last season. That was second best in the NFL.
173: Points scored by opponents outside the red zone last year, which was the highest total in the league.
14: Passes defended in 2012 by Glover Quin. Only Baltimore’s Ed Reed had more (16) last season from the safety position.


The good: The Lions secondary allowed only 42 pass plays of 20-plus yards last season, which was good for the sixth-lowest total in the NFL.
The bad: That same secondary allowed 13 pass plays of 40-plus yards, which was the second most.
The fix: The team made signing free agent cover safety Glover Quin a big priority during the first day of the free agency period. Quin is exactly the kind of cover safety defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham needs in the back end of the defense. Quin came into the league as a corner and switched to safety, so he’s got great ball skills and cover ability. He also allows Delmas to play a more natural position as a rover and playmaker near the line of scrimmage.


"Glover Quin – he's a smart DB. One thing I did notice watching film before we played him last year: he keeps himself in good position so he can make plays. That's a good thing to have on our defense. We need somebody that can make plays and keep themselves in position to make plays."

-- Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson on new Lions safety Glover Quin


Quin and Delmas are pretty well established as the No. 1 and No. 2 guys.

Louis DelmasS Louis Delmas

Delmas missed all of the offseason training program and mini-camp due to a knee injury that also kept him out of eight games last year.

While that’s not an ideal situation with a new teammate to get acclimated to in Quin, it did allow Don Carey to get a lot of first-team reps. Like Quin, Carey is a converted cornerback and he made plays when given the opportunity last season (two interceptions vs. Indianapolis). He’s a solid backup and a player the Lions wouldn’t hesitate to start if Delmas or Quin were to miss any time.

After those three, the Lions could have some very tough decisions to make. Last season, the team kept six corners and four safeties out of training camp. Depending on the competition and need at other spots, they could potentially keep five and five this season.

Hope, Spievey, Silva and Johnson could all make a case for inclusion on the roster. The team signed the veteran Hope this offseason and have groomed Spievey since taking him in the third round of the NFL Draft in 2010.

Then there’s Wendling, who’s one of the better special teams performers in the league. Is there enough room for him?

These are all good problems to have if you’re Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, the decisions at safety will be tough.