LIONS INSIDER

Tulloch having fun in Lions' new 'uptempo' defense

Posted Apr 23, 2014

For the first time since his rookie season in 2006, Stephen Tulloch is learning a new scheme under defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.

Stephen Tulloch is entering his ninth season in the NFL.

The previous eight were all played under the same defensive scheme as former Lions head coach and Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

For the first time since his rookie season in 2006, the Lions middle linebacker is learning a new scheme under defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.

“It’s exciting to be able to learn something new and see different perspectives and how different defensive coordinators attack different things,” Tulloch said after Tuesday's first voluntary minicamp practice.

“We have the personnel to fit this defense and I know they’ll do a good job in the draft to bring guys in to help improve it even more. But I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

Tulloch said Austin’s scheme would feature more of an attacking style than fans were used to under the previous regime.

“It’s fast tempo,” he said. “A lot of communication. We’re going to do some fun things. We’ve been preparing these last couple days for the little time we have to review some things.

"We’re going to get after it a little and have some fun and everyone will be accountable for what they have to do.”

Tulloch, who the team signed in 2011 and then re-signed to a five-year deal in 2012, is coming off a 135-tackle season that also featured 3.5 sacks, the most of his career.

“I’m going to have a little more fun,” Tulloch said when asked how his responsibilities within the defense might change. “Get after it a little bit more. It’s going to be fun.”

It’s veteran players like Tulloch, and center Dominic Raiola on the offensive side of the ball, who coaches are counting on to help most with the implementation of these new schemes.

"(Tulloch’s) one of those guys that understands systems extremely well, and when you do that, all they’re doing is kind of replacing their knowledge of what they know about a particular defensive scheme and just transposing the names, for the most part,” head coach Jim Caldwell said.

“They’re familiar with all those things. It’s great to have guys that have been around, that have played this game and had some success doing so, particularly when you’re trying to implement a new system.”