When the 2013-14 NFL season begins, the Detroit Lions will not have to worry about Israel Idonije coming off of the edge and sacking Matthew Stafford. The Chicago Bears‘ faithful have grown accustomed to No. 71’s speedy ways, but now the Nigerian-born defensive lineman is heading north.
For years, the Lions have been known for their defensive line, yet this offseason saw a few of Detroit’s best pass rushers hit the road. Most notably, Cliff Avril was signed by the Seattle Seahawks this spring despite playing his first five years in the Motor City. With a combined 20.5 sacks in the last two years combined, Avril left a gigantic void and “Izzy” is hopeful to fill it.
The most enticing part about Idonije’s game is the fact that he can play both defensive end spots and has the ability to mix it up as a run-stopping defensive tackle as well. In fact, the Bears used the 6-foot-6, 275-pound lineman on punt and kick blocks as well — versatile doesn’t begin to describe the play of Idonije.
A one-year deal makes since for both parties here.
Playing alongside the likes of Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers has allowed Idonije to shine, so it will be interesting to see if he can shine without Hall of Fame talent around him. Detroit has a lot to learn and I can’t stand the disgustingly-high expectations that are being set for the Lions — this team finished 4-12 last year for a reason.
However, it’s minor moves like the Idonije signing that will loom large if the Lions can reach the postseason for just the second time in this millennium.