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Dré Bly: Detroit Lion's New Veteran Cornerback

John Farrier@GriffWings UnitedCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2010

DETROIT - DECEMBER 28:  Dre Bly #32 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a fumble recovery in front of quarterback Marc Bulger #10 of the St. Louis Rams in the third quarter on December 28, 2003 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Martin “Kaizen” Mayhew is at it again, just as he said he would be. 

The Detroit Lions general manager made it clear when he took over for Matt Millen that he would seek continuous improvement for the roster that hit rock bottom at the end of the 2008 season: “OwenXVI Champions.”

 

In the theme of “get people better or get better people,” Mayhew has done a masterful job of churning the bottom five of the Detroit Lions roster. 

When he told the people of Detroit he would add another veteran presence to a suspect secondary, Lions fans were left to wonder who that might be and when it might happen.

 

The wonderment and waiting is over, as a name long-familiar to Lions fans was reunited with their memory. Two-time Lions Pro Bowl CB Dré Bly is “coming home” to Detroit.

 

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In order to be fair to the list of those whom I included in the “Who’s Who Among Who’s New on Defense in 2010,” I felt compelled to issue this update to include the former fan favorite.

 

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/409373-the-whos-who-among-whos-new-on-defense-for-the-2010-detroit-lions

 

 

Dré Bly – CB

 

 

Coming out of the University of North Carolina, you could tell that Dré was going to be a special player. 

He was selected with the 41st pick overall (2nd Round) in the 1999 NFL Draft by St. Louis, where he would become a Super Bowl champion, making two Super Bowl appearances before coming to Detroit following his stint with the Rams.

 

For a player so highly touted coming out of the ACC, Bly was allowed to develop at a leisurely pace while with the Rams, as he did not become a full-time starter until 2002. 

In fact, Dré had started only nine games during his first three seasons in the NFL.

 

http://www.nfl.com/players/dre'bly/profile?id=BLY069214

 

One of the characteristics the “May-Schwartz” front office looks for is playmaking ability.  Dré Bly has often been known as a playmaker.

 

During his Pro Bowl seasons of 2003 and 2004, Dré Bly had interception returns for touchdown of 48 and 55 yards, respectively.  Bly has averaged nearly four interceptions per year with 43 picks during his career.

 

Although aging, the front office must believe that Dré Bly can and will make a meaningful contribution to Detroit’s defensive secondary. 

Taking a look at history may bring clarity to the situation:

 

 

Record

Div-Fin

Ovrl D

Yds/Gm

Pass D

Yds/Gm

ScoreD

Pts/Gm

Pts/Seas

INT Rnk

INTs

2003

5-11

4th

24th

335.0

28th

223.6

25th

23.7

379

14th

15

2004

6-10

3rd

22nd

337.6

20th

219.6

18th

21.9

350

22nd

14

2009

2-14

4th

32nd

392.1

32nd

265.6

32nd

30.9

494

30th

9

 

Once you “take in” the data, you quickly come to the realization that the Detroit Lions defense is in far worse shape than the defenses he played on during his Pro Bowl years.

 

The Detroit Lions have made wholesale changes to the defensive backfield since the 2009 season. 

The attempt to find success with Phillip Buchanon, Anthony Henry, Will James, Brian Witherspoon, and others was nothing more than an act of futility. Those players are not on the 2010 Detroit Lions roster.

 

Guess what?

 

There will be wholesale changes again for the secondary regarded amongst the worst in the league for the past several years standing.

 

Dré Bly is added to previously mentioned “Who’s Who on Defense” members Chris Houston, Amari Spievey, and C.C. Brown. 

Jonathan Wade has made quite a splash during OTA workouts, and Eric King hopes to find health and production during the 2010 season.  Louis Delmas returns as the lone starter and leader of the Lions secondary.

 

When Coach Schwartz was sharing with the media during a post-OTA presser, his nonverbal communication reflected uneasiness relative to the interdependent nature of play in the defensive backfield. 

Having a good secondary will go a long way toward getting the defense off the field in a timely manner and go further in helping the front seven get solid pressure on the quarterback.

 

The addition of Dré Bly to the Detroit Lions defensive backfield should also aid in the development of Iowa rookie CB Amari Spievey. 

As Bly was afforded the opportunity to be brought along slowly into the professional game, perhaps this same scenario is just what Spievey needs to grow into the NFL game.

 

My guess from a starting secondary perspective at this point would be Chris Houston and Dré Bly at cornerback with Louis Delmas and C.C. Brown at safety. 

Jonathan Wade, Eric King, and Amari Spievey will all vie for playing time.  Defensive backs get hurt at an alarming rate in Detroit, so depth will likely be key before season’s end.

 

Despite the “glorious” additions of veteran talent that is being infused with the young Lions core of players, we have a defensive backfield that has yet to play together and a defensive line which has yet to congeal. 

Although two of three linebackers will return to duty, two of three linebackers are still likely to be very young (Levy and Follett).

 

The Detroit Lions and their fans would love nothing more than to see one Donald André Bly return to the form of his 2003 and 2004 Pro Bowl campaigns, when he averaged five interceptions per season.

The fans would love to see passes intercepted at midfield and returned for a touchdown.

 

Bly says he’s glad to return to Detroit where he said he felt he “played his best ball.”  He feels connected to the community and is glad to be “home.”

 

Lions fans are excited to see what the “new and improved” defense holds in store during the 2010 campaign.  A defense that can pull itself up from last to around 20th would be a solid step in the right direction.

 

It’s time for Dré Bly to step up and lead the way.

 

Got any captain in ya?

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