Linebacker Tre Lamar made a case for more playing time with the Detroit Lions
Every preseason there is a Detroit Lions player that comes out of nowhere and plants his flag on the moon during the preseason. Last year it was Brandon Powell. A few years ago it was Zack Zenner, who we all love (buy a shirt). This year after a single week of game action I think it may be Tre Lamar.
Lamar staked his claim in a big way during the second and third quarters. On a crossing route to New England’s speedy slot receivers in the second quarter, Lamar was in second level zone coverage. He followed the route as it ran into a hole in the defense, and made the tackle after the completion. He showed a fundamental understanding of his role within the team concept. Make no mistake, he was playing against opponents that are unlikely to make the Patriots roster, but all he can do is compete against the men in front of him within the defensive call.
Who is Tre Lamar?
The similarities between Lamar and the last Lions inside linebacker to don the number 59 on a regular basis, Tahir Whitehead, go beyond the number on their chest. Lamar looks his best when moving forward, toward a ball carrier in the run game, and he’s never going to remind Lions fans of De’Andre Levy in coverage. That is, however, perfectly acceptable for a fifth linebacker. He was not lost in coverage and understands how to play within his physical limitations.
Lamar is not a spectacular athlete. At the Clemson pro-day, he put up even worse numbers than Lions second-round selection Jalani Tavai. Lamar’s 40 time was 4.95. His long speed is terrible. He did, however, jump 34.5″ into the air. He also stands 6’4″ and weighs 253 lbs. If Jalani Tavai is the archetype for what the Lions want as a starter, Lamar is an option as a backup. He would give the Lions an option like the one Tom Savage’s rocket arm gives them at Quarterback. They’ll get the same service but at a lower level of proficiency. They can run the same defense with Lamar in the game as they run with Tavai, whereas subbing in Jalen Reeves-Maybin or Miles Killebrew would force the Detroit Lions to fundamentally change the way that they called the defense.
Why Tre Lamar has a chance to make the Detroit Lions
Lamar brings something to the roster that the Lions need. He did not make any of the splash-plays that Miles Killebrew did, but he also didn’t make any of the mistakes. Whereas Killebrew looks every bit the bulked up safety, running around blocks rather than through them, Lamar took on blockers and stuffed holes. He is going to be in a battle to make the 53 man roster. The Lions brought back Killebrew who stands between Lamar and the 53 man roster.
Killebrew made some highlight-reel plays so the rookie has work ahead of him to carve out a role. There is a certain violence to that phrase, and Tre Lamar is a violent linebacker. A sculptor comes to a block of stone or wood and attacks it with his tools until it becomes something else. The Detroit Lions Linebacker group is Lamar’s block of stone. Thursday night he grabbed his rasps and began to shape it into an image that includes his image. Look for number 59 to get time on the field throughout the preseason.