Rookie cornerback Bill Bentley continues to impress coaches

Posted Aug 3, 2012

The Lions made what head coach Jim Schwartz described as a “difficult football decision” when they released projected starting cornerback Aaron Berry after his second arrest this offseason.

The move left a gaping hole in the Lions secondary and gave a unique opportunity for a number of players to step up and earn a chance to play. A week into training camp, it appears rookie Bill Bentley is eager to put himself at the front of that line.

Bentley has played both the nickel and outside corner spots in camp so far and has looked good doing both. Early on, he appears to be a savvy playmaker who’s always finding himself around the football.

“I just have to take it one step at a time,” Bentley said. “I just have to learn my plays and play fast and play with instincts.”

It’s been serving him well so far.

Bentley played the right cornerback spot opposite Chris Houston with the first-team defense Friday and had an interception off quarterback Matthew Stafford and a couple pass breakups through the course of practice.

“He competes,” defensive backs/third down package coach Tim Walton said of Bentley. “If you’re a competitor, you’ll be able to show up and make plays even if the technique isn’t perfect. It takes time to get that.”

The versatility Bentley has shown and his ability to play both inside and outside spots is likely to earn the team’s third-draft pick a fair share of playing time early in his career.

Walton said he’s looking forward to seeing Bentley in a game situation next week during the team’s preseason opener against the Browns.

“I’m excited to see him and I told him that right now he just needs to learn the defense, focus on getting better each day, clean up his technique and to be consistent every day,” Walton said. “That’s what we’re looking for, being able to be consistent -- no splash plays and no splash days.”