Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was asked this week if there was concern over potentially starting four new players in the secondary.
“Maybe it will be better,” he joked, obviously mindful of the microscope that's been put on his secondary.
The biggest thing the secondary is missing without Delmas and Houston is a certain amount of comfort level. It’s not just the fact they’re the most talented players at their respective position for the Lions, it’s the fact that they’re comfortable playing with one another. When Delmas missed the last five games of the regular season last year with a knee injury, Houston said what he missed the most with Delmas out, was that he couldn’t be as aggressive. He felt he had to play a safer brand of football with someone unfamiliar behind him and said he didn’t feel as comfortable playing that style.
The problem the Lions face right now isn’t a talent issue.
“That is more critical than its given credit for,” Lacey said Friday of playing with guys you’re familiar with in the backend. “To be able to play with a certain amount of guys and learn those guys and know how they are thinking and how they’re going to play this route, I think that’s very underrated.”
That’s what this secondary won’t have today against the Rams. Instead, Lacey said they have to rely on “trust” and “accountability.”
“You can’t shy away from making plays and you still have to put it on the line and make plays and that’s where the trust factor comes in,” he said. “You have to trust that you’re guy is going to be where he needs to be and that you’re going to be where you need to be and you have to have that same trust.”
Lacey, Bentley, Wendling and Coleman - today’s likely starters in the secondary - have been together all through the offseason and training camp and four preseason games. While the preseason is nothing compared to the game planning that goes into the regular season game, there should still be some familiarity there.
“We just have to get adjusted a lot faster,” Florence said. “We haven’t played together so communication is going to be pretty important to us moving forward.”
The secondary will be under the microscope today as the team’s biggest perceived weakness heading into the season. If there was ever a unit that needed to play together and play well to start to the season it’s the Lions secondary, and that starts today.