It feels good to be wanted.
After being waived by the Cleveland Browns on Monday on the heels of a four-game suspension for a PED violation, defensive end Armonty Bryant is grateful to have a second chance in Detroit after the team claimed him off waivers on Tuesday.
"It's a great feeling to be wanted and to be able to play in the NFL and contribute to someone," Bryant said Wednesday before his first practice with the Lions.
"It's a great opportunity just to be here and contribute to this team."
The Lions are in need of some pass-rushing help up front, and hope Bryant can give them a boost.
"Big guy who's got some physicality to him and I think he'll be able to help us at (defensive) end," head coach Jim Caldwell said.
Detroit's ability to rush the passer has been pretty dormant outside of Kerry Hyder's five sacks. The rest of the defensive line has combined for just three sacks in four games. Detroit's been without Ziggy Ansah, last year's NFC leader in sacks (14.5), for three games now due to an ankle injury.
Bryant (6-4, 265) joins the Lions following a three-year stint with Cleveland. He played in 14 games (two starts) last season, finishing with 40 tackles (28 solo), 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
So what can he add to the mix?
"Just my pass-rushing ability," Bryant said.
Bryant is transitioning from an outside linebacker in Cleveland's 3-4 scheme to playing defensive end in Detroit, but he doesn't believe it will be too big of an adjustment or take too long to get acclimated.
"Just putting your hand in the dirt," he said of the change in position. "More just getting off the ball than dropping. That's the only difference. It's all the same. Football hasn't changed. Just go get the quarterback."
Philadelphia (3-0) ranks first in the NFL in points allowed (9.0), having allowed 14-or-fewer points in all three contests to open the season.
The Eagles are the only team in the NFL that hasn't allowed a passing touchdown so far this season, which speaks volumes to how good they are both rushing the passer and on the back end.
"They've got good players at every level of their defense, and they're doing a really good job of putting pressure on the quarterback with four guys," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said.
"Their guys in the back end are playing sticky coverage, so that's a good combination for not giving up passing touchdowns."
Philly's defense has recorded a sack on 10.1 percent of opponent passing attempts this season, the second-highest rate in the NFL behind only Denver (12.2). They're good at putting stress on the quarterback. The Lions will have to find a way to counter that Sunday at Ford Field.
"They make certain you can't hold that ball in your hand very long against this group so it has to come out pretty quickly," Caldwell said.
But there has to be a balance between dinking and dunking, and taking some shots down the field, as Stafford explained.
"You can't sit there and just throw the ball for two and three yards at a time all day long," he said. "You've got to be able to stretch the field, take some shots, run the ball effectively. It's going to take a total team effort on offense to play well against a defense like this."
It will be on offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter to find that right balance, and for Detroit's offensive line to stand up when the situation is ripe for Stafford to take some shots down the field.
Some Lions fans have wondered aloud if Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has lost his touch a bit.
After heading one the league's best defenses in 2014, Detroit hasn't come close to reaching those numbers the last two years. They currently don't rank better than 20th in any statistical category on defense.
It's a fact – not an excuse – that Austin hasn't had his two best players – defensive end Ziggy Ansah and linebacker DeAndre Levy – over Detroit's current three-game losing streak.
But Lions safety Glover Quin made it very clear Wednesday the blame for Detroit's inability to put together a full four-quarter performance on defense this year goes no further than the locker room and the players inside it.
"We haven't played very good for four quarters," Quin said. "I do feel like players are the ones who play the games. We've had plays we should have made and situations where we should have been better. As players, we weren't better.
"If we do what we're supposed to do, and execute at a really high level, I think we'll be fine."