Lions' fortunes rest with Redding
A little follow up on my story today on Cory Redding.
As everyone knows, Redding had something of a disappointing season last year. He set a career high with 78 tackles, but went 14 games without a sack and wasn't the playmaking force the Lions expected after signing him to a seven-year, $49-million deal last July. Part of the reason Redding disappointed was a bum right shoulder that hampered his play much of the season.
Redding said he had "a significant tear in the rotator-cuff area" and underwent surgery after the season. He's back taking part in OTAs (organized team activities) now, but won't be full strength until training camp opens in July.
"I feel good," Redding said. "I'm still rehabbing, still building my strength. The flexibility's 100 percent but it's all about getting my strength back and not going out there and letting some young guy put his facemask in my shoulder and set me back for a month."
Redding said there's no chance he starts camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, even for precautionary reasons, though the Lions will do everything in their power to keep perhaps the biggest key to their defense healthy. If Redding plays like he did two years, when he had eight sacks in little over half a season at the under-tackle position, the defense could be special. If he plays like he did last year, when his first sack came Dec. 23, the line will struggle to get adequate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. In the Tampa 2 defense, that's the single biggest factor to success, and something the Lions saw first hand last year.
"We had time (last year) where we were sensational in our four-man rush and there's time it disappeared," Lions coach Rod Marinelli said. "You got to have that consistency. ... It's hard, but that's part of the deal. If you're saying, 'Man, we can't rush these guys. We have to blitz,' now you have problems. To me, you have problems. Eventually that stuff catches up with you because they get paid, too."