Quin's versatility huge plus for Lions

Posted Mar 25, 2014

Quin's ability to play strong and free safety allowed Lions to be selected finding him help

ORLANDO -- The Detroit Lions have filled their need at safety with veteran James Ihedigbo.

Ihedigbo, who agreed to terms with the Lions Monday night on a two-year deal, is expected to come in and take over the strong safety spot. Glover Quin will move from strong safety to free safety.

The move from strong to free should be seamless one for Quin, who entered the league as a cornerback in 2009 and has good cover skills. He seems to fit nicely into that free safety role previously help by Louis Delmas.

“I can’t wait to get a chance to work with him,” head coach Jim Caldwell said Tuesday of Quin. “I can tell from my conversation with him on the phone and watching him play he’s a disciplined guy, he’s a hard-working guy, he’s settled, he’s focused and he wants to win.”

His versatility allowed the Lions to be quite thorough in finding him help at the safety spot.

Veterans Ihedigbo, Chris Clemons and Thomas DeCoud all made the trek to Allen Park to talk with Lions brass about their vacancy at safety.

The team has also hosted former Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for one of their pre-draft visits, and general manager Martin Mayhew went down to personally watch former Louisville safety Calvin Pryor’s Pro Day.

All of those players have a distinctive skillset and would have brought a little something different to the table. But they were all in play because Quin is one of those players who can do it all.

“It’s the value of having that multidimensional, versatile defender,” Mayhew said of Quin Monday, before Ihedigbo agreed to the deal. “A guy like Glover can play strong or free and gives us flexibility to get a guy who plays strong or free, whether it’s a draft choice or free agent or whatever. We can fit him at either position.”

Mayhew said it’s not unlike the current situation the team has have at receiver with Golden Tate, who they signed last week.

“You can play him inside,” Mayhew said of Tate. “You can play him in the slot. You can play him outside. He’s versatile. He can play special teams.

“We go into the draft with the ability, if we want to draft a receiver, we can draft a slot receiver or an outside receiver. If we take a guy built like Calvin in free agency, we’re kind of pigeon-holing ourselves in terms of the draft with what we really want to add to the mix.”

Quin, who signed a five-year, $23.5 million free agent contract with the Lions last offseason, is the kind of player coaches rarely worry about. He always seems to be in the right place and rarely makes mistakes.

He can play in the box and cover the deep middle part of the field. He’s just a good professional football player.

Caldwell didn't want to talk too much about any specifics regarding Quin and Ihedigbo because the deal hasn't been signed yet, but he said Quin and Ihedigbo should make a good pair and also interchangeable, despite the more defined distinctions as free and strong.

“They almost have to be twin safeties anyways because all a team is going to do, if you have a guy designated to a certain type of technique, all they’re going to do is flip-flop it,” Caldwell said.

“They’re going to jump the tight end, they’re going to motion, they’re going to move you into positions sometimes where they’re going to have to take on the others responsibility anyway. So you have to have a mirrored safety situation. But for the most part, we’ll be able to fit that perfectly as time roles on.”