MIKE O'HARA

O'HARA'S FINAL THOUGHTS: The fishing has been good of late for Willie Young

Posted Oct 20, 2013

Columnist Mike O'Hara also looks at K David Akers' performance and consistency at safety in his final thoughts on the Lions, Bengals matchup

Final thoughts on Willie Young’s development, David Akers’ steady kicking and consistency at safety while  awaiting kickoff of Sunday’s Lions-Bengals game at Ford Field:

Willie Young knows he’s had a good day when he can go home after landing a big one.

The fishing has been good of late for Young, who has put together the most consistent string of good games in his four seasons as a Lion since taking over the starting defensive left end in Game 4.

Young has made the most of an opportunity that came when Jason Jones went down for the season with a knee injury in a road victory over Washington in Game 3. Coach Jim Schwartz remarked during the week how Young seems to have matured as a player this year.

Young doesn’t disagree with that and used a fishing analogy to describe his approach.

"It’s just Willie Young looking to go fishing every Sunday," he said. "That’s what it comes down to."

Coming off a 2012 season when he did not have a sack, and a preseason when he had some ill-timed penalties, Young has played an important role on the defensive line. He has been a solid presence against the run and in the past rush.

Willie YoungDE Willie Young (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

His signature celebration move after a sack is to pretend to reel in a fish. He caught Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden in the second half last week, and he intended to cast for the Bengals’ Andy Dalton in Sunday.

Young was typically good natured in talking about his plans for the Bengals.

"I can’t tell you what I’m going fishing for this week.," Young said. "I’ll definitely change bait. A totally new setup. A totally new ball game."

For the season, Young has 17 tackles and two sacks. He doesn’t always land a big one.

"I broke my line about four times," he said. "They spit the hook about three times. I went home a couple times without bringing something home for the family."

Kicking long: David Akers has made 10 of 12 field-goal attempts, and the last two were long distance – and at key moments.

Two weeks ago at Green Bay, Akers connected from 53 yards late in the first half to cut the Packers’ lead to 6-3. The Packers ended up winning, 22-9, but Akers’ field goal kept the Lions within reach of the lead.

In last week’s 31-17 win at Cleveland, Akers made a 51-yarder in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 24-17. A miss would have been costly because of its impact on field position. The Browns would have had the ball at their 41 and could have driven into field-goal range with two first downs.

David AkersK David Akers (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

It was a pressure kick, and Akers responded. There was no doubt that his kick would good. It was straight and long enough to clear the cross bar with 10 yards to spare.

"Believe it or not, I feel like there’s pressure on every kick," Akers said. "You never know when it’s going to be a 7-6 game and every point makes a difference. I’ve always had that weird mentality. You never know what’s going to be the deciding factor.

"I feel pretty good. I’m hitting the ball."

Safety first: Louis Delmas and Glover Quin have stabilized the safety position. It was a revolving door last year because of injuries and inefficiency, but Quin and Delmas have started all six games.

The only starting position in the secondary that hasn’t been secure is right cornerback, where rookie Darius Slay and veteran Rashean Mathis have pretty much divided playing time.

Even though Delmas does not practice every day as part of a schedule to keep his knees healthy for game day, he and Quin have developed a rapport.

Delmas has a simple answer for what they’ve been able to develop between themselves.

"Chemistry – first and foremost chemistry," he said. "To have a guy I can depend on and know he’ll be there week in and week out makes my job easier.

"It’s crazy because we haven’t been together that long, but I can look at him and know what he can do. We spend a lot of time in the meeting room, making sure we’re on the same page."