Mayhew: Carpenter, Palmer to compete for starting outside linebacker roles
INDIANAPOLIS -- Outside linebacker is considered a position of need for the Detroit Lions who will release Julian Peterson and are unsure if Zack Follett will return following his spinal injury last season.
However, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said this morning (Friday) that Bobby Carpenter and Ashlee Palmer will compete this season to start at outside linebacker.
Carpenter joined the Lions midway through last season when the linebacking corps was depleted by injury.
“Guys like Bobby Carpenter, Ashlee Palmer, John Wendling, down the stretch those guys made a huge impact for us. I thought Bobby did an outstanding job, he came in, he learned our system, he knew all the spots, he knew all the special teams stuff and he made plays for us on the field,’’ Mayhew said. “He made a couple big plays on the passing game on third downs for us, we were happy with his performance we thought he did a good job.
“I see him certainly as a guy who competes for a starting job at outside linebacker for us, I see Ashlee the same way. Both those guys have played well enough and there’s enough good tape ofd those guys playing in our system to say those guys can be starters,’’ Mayhew added.
Palmer got off to a slow start last season, his first with the Lions. But improved as the season went on and his playing time increased due to injuries.
“Coming from Buffalo last year, having to learn a new system, (Palmer) is still a young player, so I think it was sort of picking up our scheme, knowing his job, performing at a consistent level,’’ Mayhew said. “He was also playing a lot of special teams and defense at the same time. That’s always tough for a young player. He had a good season for us though, for a young guy, and his arrow is still going up.’’
Follett is still a question mark. He continues rehab. Mayhew said they are taking “a wait and see approach” and it’s out of their hands. It will be more a decision for Follett and he has not made it yet.
Immediately after the season, Mayhew said Peterson would not be with the team this coming season. He reiterated that on Friday, but said Peterson has yet to be released.
(Check back this afternoon for more from Mayhew’s breakfast on Friday morning with the Lions beat writers. Also check out a live chat from the Combine at noon on TheOaklandPress.com. Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)