For the first time in years, Detroit’s entire defense looks good on paper. Sure, paper and games are very different, but it’s tough to find anyone who is a glaring weakness on this year's starting defense.
Before last season, you wouldn’t be able to say that about any position on defense, let alone the entire unit. Even when the defensive line was overhauled last year and guys like Kyle Vanden Bosch, Corey Williams and Ndamukong Suh were brought in, the rest of the defense was either sorely lacking (for lack of a better phrase) or nursing injuries.
By bringing back a guy like Chris Houston, who made the most of his opportunity in Detroit last season, and pairing him with Eric Wright, who, besides struggling at times last season, has been solid to say the least, the Lions solidified both CB spots on defense without breaking the bank. This allowed them to sign Stephen Tulloch, who was arguably the best free-agent linebacker on the market in addition to being familiar with the Lions’ defensive scheme, and Justin Durant. This not only solved Detroit’s run defense woes, but allows DeAndre Levy to play on the outside where he will cover the likes of Matt Forte and reduce the likelihood of screen passes going the distance.
In addition to these moves made in free agency, the emergence this preseason of Amari Spievey removes any doubts that there may have been at the safety position. After reporting to training camp out of shape, unprepared and struggling at corner (the position that Spievey was drafted at out of Iowa in the third round in 2010) out of the gate, Spievey was converted to safety. The position fit Spievey’s skill set, but he didn’t have time to get comfortable with the position before being forced into action last season.
With a new attitude and a sense of comfort that was unknown last year Spievey, by all reports, has embraced his new position and is playing with the speed and precision required of a defensive back in the NFL.