We’re getting closer to the official start of the 2013 NFL free agency signing tomorrow at midnight and there’s still no word on some key players for the Detroit Lions. The Reggie Bush talk is in full effect, but the team’s biggest needs don’t seem to be getting attention. What’s their plan for the defense? The Lions were able to lock up the team’s 3rd ranked tackler last season in DeAndre Levy, but several questions still remain unanswered for the unit that slipped in 2012.
With 103 tackles last season, what does the team think of Justin Durant? The Lions would be wise to lock him up somehow. He was no world beater last season with no forced fumbles, interceptions and only half a sack, but the Lions play a coverage 4-3 and Durant’s 2nd most tackles on the team should warrant a contract worthy of the position. If no contract is in place before the kick off at midnight tomorrow, expect another team like the Chicago Bears to poach Durant.
Durant’s situation is just the tip of the iceberg. What about solid, six year veteran corner, Chris Houston? He had the teams’ 4th most tackles last season and also had five interceptions the season before. Houston is one of five unrestricted free agent defensive backs for the Lions. The list includes the obvious Louis Delmas along with Drayton Florence, Jacob Lacey and Pat Lee. The Lions also have exclusive rights to Ricardo Silva and Amari Spievey. The team is in dire need of bodies to put it lightly. The turnover with the secondary should only include Delmas or Houston; not both.
After the secondary problems, the Lions face the issue of their defensive line. Defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh is great, but he can’t be expected to anchor the unit all by himself. There’s no Kyle Vanden Bosch. It appears end, Cliff Avril is about to get paid like the President by another team. Tackle Sammie Lee Hill is finished with his rookie deal and now unrestricted. Add another end in Lawrence Jackson to that list. And top it all off with Corey Williams who is also an unrestricted, veteran free agent.
And the Lions and many fans want Reggie? The situation on defense will have to figure itself out. The Lions are sure to retain a few of those players, but the true needs lie on defense. The Lions don’t have the wallet for the gimmick back. The running game was ranked 23rd last season, but the team spent its games playing catch up and chucking the ball almost 800 times last year. Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell combinde to make a decent tandem. The Lions haven’t even seen what the two may be capable of yet. Why add a five-six million dollar toy to the team with arguably the league’s best offense?
Defense people! The defense is in trouble, big trouble. If the Detroit Lions do indeed add Reggie Bush to their already capable offense, expect their philosophy to be scoring 50 points a game. Let’s see where that gets them. If you ask me, the only thing between the 10-6 Lions of 2011 and the 4-12 Lions of 2012 was their turnovers. If you don’t get turnovers, you don’t win games.
I can’t wait for free agency. But most of all, I can’t wait to see how the train wreck that is the Lions defense pans out. They must have something up their sleeve. If not, their fans are no stranger to where they’ll finish in 2013.