Detroit Lions Defense: It's Time to Get Big!
Martin Mayhew talked early on about getting bigger, stronger, and faster on the field. He didn't specify who should get bigger, faster, or stronger though.
It would be assumed that Mayhew was speaking about the draft, trades, and free agent signings, tools they have used to achieve the goal. That isn't all Mayhew meant though.
Carlos Monarrez in an article on Freep.com interviewed Ikaika Alama-Fancis and had this to report, "With a new "get bigger and get stronger" edict for the team, Alama-Francis has gone from 275 pounds to 290 pounds and even joked that he's getting taller."
Tom "The Killer" Kowalski is reporting on MLive.com that "(Jared) DeVries, who had a career high 6 ½ sacks two years ago, will likely play on just first and second down in the new system. As a result, DeVries is regaining the weight he lost to play in the former scheme - like all of Detroit's linemen."
Like all of Detroit's linemen Killer?
Alama-Francis and Devries are both likely to be used on first and second downs or obvious running situations. Alama-Francis even mentioned the possibility of playing inside on pass situations.
Other members of the Lions, including rookie DeAndre Levy, are in on the act. Levy arrived at the rookie mini-camp carrying about four extra pounds in just a few short weeks.
Cliff Avril, the Lions smallest defensive line player, will be used on passing downs to make use of his speed around the corner and to avoid having him be a liability against the run.
Despite the effort from Detroit's defensive ends to get bigger, the interior defensive linemen are still a question. After Grady Jackson, at 345 pounds, the next biggest defensive linemen are rookie's Sammie Lee Hill, 330 pounds, and John Gill, 302 pounds.
Hill and Gill are not ready to start most likely, leaving Chartric "Chuck" Darby and Andre Fluellen as the most likely candidates for the starting tackle positions. They weigh 297 and 296 pounds respectively.
It will be interesting to see the weight the of defensive linemen when they report next and start forming depth charts. We may see Darby and Fluellen over 300 pounds. Or we may see Hill getting lots of extra coaching attention in hopes he can learn to stuff the middle.
Although they appear to be headed in the right direction, the strength of the defensive line is on the ends. The Lions will likely have to funnel everything inside for the new linebackers to clean up.
It's important to note that next year's draft is expected to be strong at the defensive tackle position. If you picture a guy like Terrence Cody, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, or Vince Oghabaase on the team next year, then the defensive tackle spot looks good going into the future.
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