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Detroit Lions: Darryl Tapp among 5 top leaders on defense

Defensive lineman Darryl Tapp at minicamp
Like every team in every sport, leadership is important among players.

Here are five Detroit Lions who are the standout leaders on defense:

  1. Darryl Tapp is the voice you hear every day during workouts. “His enthusiasm is unmatched because he does it every single day, every minute of the day. In the classroom or on the field he’s always just got kind of a personality,’’ coach Jim Caldwell said. “That’s one of the things that we talk about in this game that makes it special is authenticity. He’s a very, very authentic person and you need guys like him. Matter of fact, before we came in Jim Washburn (defensive line coach) said to us, ‘Hey, if we sign this guy, let me just tell you something. This guy is a force multiplier.’ Nobody quite knew exactly what he meant. Certainly we understand the term, but it came to fruition when he walked into the building. Guys gravitate toward him, he’s a leader, great family man, has his life in order and he’s a great example for the young guys as well. But he loves the game. That’s what you see and you hear is the passion that he has for this game. We’ve got a few guys out there like that, but maybe none quite as vocal as Darryl Tapp.”

  2. James Ihedigbo starts his second season in Detroit. The starting safety has not been shy. He walks in the room and you know he’s a leader.

  3. Glover Quin and Ihedigbo form quite a pair. Both are NFL veterans that chose to sign with the Lions. Both are not just leaders in the secondary, but also for the whole defense.

  4. Stephen Tulloch was signed by the Lions in 2011, one of the qualities they Lions liked was his leadership. He had played for former coach Jim Schwartz in Tennessee so Tulloch’s natural leadership was no surprise.

  5. Rashean Mathis will be 35 in August, he just doesn’t play like it. The cornerback was signed for depth in August 2013 and since then has started 29 games. Plus, he shares his knowledge. He has been key in the development of Darius Slay. “He’s tireless. He’s a very effective teacher, outstanding performer, but there’s probably not a time where you see him standing over there and he’s not talking to one of those other defensive backs, whether it’s a safety and talking about a call back there, working out between the split of a receiver, or just talking to some of the younger corners and just talking to them about work habits and body position and technique and fundamentals,’’ Caldwell said.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


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