Players Brought In By GM Bob Quinn Having Great Effect On Team’s Record.
Many old faces have been the ones winning games for the Lions in recent weeks, but it’s truly Bob Quinn’s rookies and free-agent pick-ups that have carried this team to the 7-4 record they hold now. Everyone in sports media sees the Matthew Stafford comebacks, the Golden Tate overtime touchdown, or the Darius Slay game winning interception.
What hasn’t been reported on however, is the large roles rookies and free-agents have been playing on this team. To be as pragmatic as possible, they’ve been the difference between 7-4 and 4-7. It takes 46 players to win a game on Sundays, and the Lions are getting key contributions from players up and down the roster.
Quinn Era Lions Making a Difference
Johnson Bademosi – Bademosi and Don Carey are the best punt gunner tandem in the NFL. They’ve bottled up some of the most terrifying return men in the league: Cordarelle Patterson, Will Fuller, and Tavon Austin, just to name a few. Bademosi performed admirably in Slay’s absence, also notching his first career INT in a big spot against Houston.
Anquan Boldin – It was rumored Super Bowl week that Boldin had interest in playing for Jim Caldwell, and Lions fans were elated when he signed on the team near training camp. He’s been everything Lions fans hoped for, providing veteran leadership in the receiver room while working the middle of the field and coming up big in the red zone. Stafford and him have great chemistry after only four months of playing together.
Armonty Bryant – If I told you in July that Armonty Bryant and Kerry Hyder would have 7.5 more sacks than Ziggy Ansah, Devin Taylor, and Haloti Ngata combined by week 12 would you believe me? Bryant returns from suspension this week against New Orleans, hopefully he can add to a pass-rush that hasn’t had a sack since November 6th.
Rafael Bush – Bush has played well as the safety opposite Glover Quin, also splitting time with another Quinn signing, Tavon Wilson. He had the game winning interception against LA, and also an extremely impressive run back on a pick six versus Jacksonville. With cuts like that, maybe Caldwell should work him out at running back.
Taylor Decker – The 16th overall pick has exceeded expectations and then some. After a particularly terrible game in Green Bay, Decker has been rock-solid at left tackle. Him being there has also improved the right side with Riley Reiff, who hopefully the Lions re-sign this offseason.
Graham Glasgow – When drafted, everyone pegged him as the center to replace the horrid Travis Swanson. Turns out Swanson is having a good season, and instead Glasgow has replaced what appears to be Mayhew’s last gift to the Lions in Laken Tomlinson. Glasgow and Decker are rookies on the left side, and have been looking like veterans.
Kerry Hyder – Signed off waivers before the final pre-season game, Hyder made sure he was noticed in a 5-sack showing, and that game transferred to the regular season. On a team that has mainly been devoid of pass-rushing, Hyder has been a godsend for the Lions this year.
Marvin Jones – Even though his production has been down as of late, Jones had a torrid start to 2016 and has been a welcome addition to what in April looked like a real depleted receiving core. Drops have been an issue, but adjusting from catching Andy Dalton’s ball to Matthew Stafford’s is like trying to hit a 105 MPH fast ball after seeing 60 MPH change ups for three years.
Miles Killebrew – Killebrew had a slow start to the year before becoming a 3rd down monster since the bye week. On Thanksgiving, Killebrew made four tackles on nine plays. Talk about making the most of your reps. Time will tell if he can turn into a Mark Barron or Deone Buchannon type, but the early returns are promising.
Andre Roberts – Albeit enigmatic, Roberts has come up clutch in some big spots this year for Detroit. A punt return TD in Chicago gave the lions a chance, a leaping grab set up the game-winner to Boldin versus Washington, a sliding catch gave Prater the 58-yard FG in Minnesota, a crazy 4th down TD catch against LA, and the punt return TD against Jacksonville jump-started the team off the bye. Mayhew gave us Lance Moore, Quinn raised him Andre Roberts. You do the math.
A’Shawn Robinson – I’ll say it right now. The 2nd rounder from ‘Bama is a stud. He had his coming out party against Houston, but the play where he stuffed Chris Ivory behind the line against Jacksonville made me fall in love. He has essentially replaced Tyrunn Walker next to Ngata on the line.
And that’s just some of them. The Lions are winning games on the backs of their star players, but make no mistake that the reason for the season is Quinn and his genius.