Twentyman at the Half: Good to see young corners making plays

Posted Aug 29, 2013

Cornerbacks Bill Bentley and Darius Slay made highlight-reel plays in the first quarter at Buffalo

Bill BentleyCB Bill Bentley had one interception and one pass breakup in the 1st quarter at Buffalo. (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

The Detroit Lions are going to be relying on young cornerbacks Darius Slay and Bill Bentley early and often this season.

Slay, the team’s second-round draft pick in April, has earned the starting right cornerback spot opposite Chris Houston.

Bentley, a third-round pick in 2012, is the team’s starting nickel cornerback.

Both players made plays in the first half, which was good to see.

Slay showed terrific speed in staying with Bills receiver Marquise Goodwin down the left sideline on a play early in the first quarter and was able to knock the ball away at the last minute.

Two things were impressive on the play.

One, Slay showed his speed staying step-for-step with Goodwin, who was a NCAA champion sprinter and a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in the long jump.

Two, Slay turned around and located the football at the last minute. That’s been an emphasis with head coach Jim Schwartz over the last week. He’s been constantly telling defensive backs to turn their heads in practice.

Slay wasn't thrown at the rest of the half.

As for Bentley, he made a terrific interception undercutting a Lee Smith route. The interception set up the Lions’ offense at the Buffalo 8-yard and receiver Patrick Edwards, scored on the very next play.

Bentley made another good play knocking a third-down pass out of the hands of receiver Brad Smith on the next Bills possession.

Granted, the Bills aren’t exactly a juggernaut in the passing game, but it’s still good to see young cornerbacks making plays.

Veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis had an interception in the second quarter, which was the fourth for the Lions this preseason. This is a same secondary that had 11 all of last year.