An already shallow defensive backfield has gotten even smaller since last week’s preseason match-up against the Oakland Raiders. Both Bill Bentley and Chris Houston went down with injuries, though they are not thought to be critical. Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz has effectively ruled them out of the final preseason game of the year, and they’re being treated as day-to-day.
Detroit fans, along with myself, already have some fears for the Detroit Lions going forward, mainly in two areas. The lackluster run game, which will be aided by the Lions’ aerial assault, led by none other than Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, still remains as a huge concern going into the season. The other concern is the secondary, who will be looking to the defensive front four, anchored by Ndamukong Suh, to aid in stymying opponents through the air.
Another aid, or so the Lions hope, will be the addition of Kevin Barnes. Barnes, a former third round pick from Maryland played for the Washington Redskins the last three seasons. The Lions gave up a conditional draft pick to acquire the former ‘Skins’ nickelback corner.
However, questions still linger about whether this will be enough. Barnes, while playing in 15 games last year, only started twice while recording two interceptions. The call from fans is still begging the Lions to pick up another quality corner.
Losing former Lions’ cornerback Eric Wright to free agency in the off-season and then Aaron Berry, due to off-field issues, makes the Lions’ secondary more of a concern than ever. It was a concern last year, and even more of one now. Louis Delmas is the only solidified player among Detroit’s defensive backs and his ability to play 100% is still questionable, after his recent knee surgery.
If Houston, Barnes and Bentley can step up, and deliver just average pass coverage, the Lions’ defense should be okay, helped along with their ever potent offense. It would be nice to see a shut down corner in the Lions’ secondary, but rebuilding teams from the ground up takes time, and General Manager Martin Meyhew has done a fine job so far.