The Lions look to be strong up the middle of their defense this season with defensive tackles
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.
|Louis Delmas||5-11||202||26||5||Western Michigan|
|Glover Quin||6-0||209||27||5||New Mexico|
|Chris Hope (w/Atl)||16||26||0||0||0|
|Martavius Neloms (college)||12||53||1||1||2|
|Glover Quin (w/Hou)||16||84||2||14||2|
BY THE NUMBERS
|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 AND THE BAD
|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
THE DEPTH CHART
Quin and Delmas are pretty well established as the No. 1 and No. 2 guys.
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.
2013 POSITION PREVIEWS