The Detroit Lions have high hopes for the 2012 season, coming off what most would consider a successful 2011 campaign.
Part of the reason for optimism in the Motor City was the revitalization of Kyle Vanden Bosch's career last season.
Vanden Bosch was able to remain healthy enough to play in all 16 of Detroit's regular-season games last year. That allowed him to post the third-highest sack total (eight) of his 10-year career.
Much was made last season about Lion's head coach Jim Schwartz holding him out of practice one day a week in order to keep the veteran defensive end fresh through the season.
It sounds like Schwartz plans to do the same in 2012.
This should be extremely beneficial again for Detroit's vaunted front seven. When healthy, Vanden Bosch is a nightmare for offensive linemen to engage one-on-one thanks to the high intensity he plays with on every snap.
In addition to added rest, I get the sense that the Lions' coaching staff really likes what they see in Ronnell Lewis and may be comfortable getting the rookie a few snaps while Vanden Bosch gets a few extra breathers during games.
This could add up to Vanden Bosch improving on the solid 2011 year he had.
However it goes down, keeping Vanden Bosch healthy is going to be paramount to Detroit's success on the defensive side of the ball in 2012, as he is exactly the type of gritty, battle-hardened warrior you want on the field during the latter part of the season as well as the playoffs.