It was a disappointing 2019 season for Da’Shawn Hand. Injuries prevented the second-year defensive lineman from playing 13 games this season.
After being graded as the top interior defensive lineman among all first-year players by Pro Football Focus in 2018, elbow and ankle injuries limited Hand to just three contests this past season. The latter of the two injuries placed him on season-ending injured reserve Dec. 12. It's the second straight season the talented defensive lineman ended his season on IR. He missed the final three games last year due to a knee injury.
How much was Hand expected to be a part of Detroit's defensive plans this season? He was singled out by general manager Bob Quinn in his postseason press conference when asked about injuries and the evaluation of the season.
"What if Da'Shawn Hand didn't miss almost the entire season?" Quinn asked.
Hand's versatility and ability to create pressure in the middle of the defensive line was missed all season.
"This season was what it was," Hand said last week as he grabbed a bag to start cleaning out his locker in Allen Park. "Now it's time to work."
Hand said he doesn't plan to take too much time off before getting right back into working out and preparing for the 2020 season. Hand joked that he feels kind of off if two days go by where he doesn't get a workout in.
"Wherever there's a field at, I'm going to be working out on it," Hand said. "I'm just working on my footwork, hand work, technique, quickness and getting off the ball. Just things I really need to focus on as a defensive lineman and make myself a better defensive lineman."
Detroit's expected to go to work revamping and adding talent to a defensive line that didn't live up to expectations. Expected to be a strength in early September, that unit upfront failed to make a huge impact. Detroit's sack percentage was the second lowest in the NFL, and they finished 21st against the run. Overall, the defense finished 31st overall and 26th in points allowed.
As for Hand, he hopes 2020 will bring better health, as he's expecting to be a big part of the rebuild upfront.
"It's just a good time to rebuild," Hand said of the offseason. "Last season was what it was. I think just the excitement of what we can build next year is just going to be cool."