Depth is key to Lions' defensive line
If the defensive line was not the strength of the Lions, there would be something wrong. After all they added Kyle Vanden Bosch, Corey Williams and Ndamukong Suh in the offseason.
No one has disappointed. In fact, Suh has delivered more than some expected for a rookie.
With Vanden Bosch out for the season and Cliff Avril banged up with rib injuries, others have stepped up big time.
While the big names are key, it’s the depth of the defensive line that makes it special.
Turk McBride has started for Vanden Bosch and Avril at times. His five sacks to date are a career high. In fact in his first three seasons in the NFL, he had 5.5 combined.
Lawrence Jackson, a former first-round pick, has stepped up after being acquired during training camp. A hamstring injury kept him from jumping in at full speed, but he’s been impressive with 4.5 sacks in eight games.
“He can make plays. We have a lot of guys who can make plays. That continues on,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said. “If (rookie) Willie Young got the opportunity, we would expect him to make plays also.’’
Let’s not leave out Sammie Hill, a starter last year, who is much improved this season, and Andre Fluellen.
"I think No. 1, there’s good players there. They fit the scheme; they’re coached well. I think all those things go into it and we do have some depth at that position. Fluellen was a guy that was heavily involved in our defensive tackle rotation last year. His play time got significantly cut this year when we traded for Corey Williams and drafted Ndamukong Suh. Sammie Hill, same thing; he started for us last year,’’ Schwartz said. “Those guys are much improved over last year, but their playing time had been affected. So when they got their opportunities, they’ve gone in and played well.’’
Suh, Williams and Vanden Bosch are the faces of the defensive line. But it’s the depth that makes it special.
(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)