I Answer Questions About Lions Defensive Players Following Their Week Four Win Against the Vikings.
Questions 1: Do You Think Jarrad Davis Plays Sunday Against The Panthers? If So, Will He Be Impactful?
I really hope so. The Lions defense has played great through their first quarter of the season. Currently, they are tied for 4th fewest points allowed in the league and have done so without Davis for the past two games. Now, that is not to say they haven’t missed Jarrad’s presense the past two weeks. Quite the contrary. The defense flows quite differently with Davis starting at middle linebacker.
Jarrad is the only true three down linebacker on the team. His speed and explosiveness really stand out against the other Lions linebackers. No linebacker has attacked the running game with his intensity with his absense. Also, his ability in coverage should not be overlooked. While Davis certainly still needs to grow in this area a bit, he is also the Lions best coverage linebacker. Putting him in the middle helps mitigate the strain the other linebackers put on the defense in coverage.
Getting Davis back on the field will be a big boost for this team in both stopping the pass and run, but he they need him to be 100 percent healthy first. Davis has yet to fully participate in practice since his concussion injury over two weeks ago against the Giants. He was able to get limited practice time in during the end of the week, but he needs to participate fully to pass the NFL’s concussion protocol. However, the fact he was practicing last week, even in a limited capacity, is a good sign he will be healthy and ready to go Sunday at 1pm.
Question 2: Is Zettel For Real Or Just A Hot Start?
Anthony Zettel has really impressed to start his second year as an NFL player. He has four sacks in four games and has consistently been in quarterback’s faces so far this season. While this is impressive, it is not entirely uncommon for players to put up nice pass rush totals and still struggle in the NFL. George Johnson and Kerry Hyder have been two good examples of this happening for the Lions. Like Johnson and Hyder, Zettel really struggled in run defense last year. He constistently lost edge contain, which allowed big runs and quarterback scrambles to hurt this defense.
This is why I think Zettel may be for real this season. Because he has really improved in this area through the first four games, which has been a big boost to this defense. His ability to hold the edge well has begun forcing runs back inside, where the meat of the defense is. This has helped out Haloti Ngata, A’shawn Robinson, and Tahir Whitehead by bringing the play to them, instead of it running away from them. Good players make their teammates around them better and Zettel appears to be doing that.
Question 3: Do You Think Glover Quin Deserved More Recognition?
I think Glover Quin is criminally underrated. Consistently we hear names like Earl Thomas III, Eric Berry, and Harrison Smith listed as the top safeties in the league. But Lions free safety Glover Quin has made the case that he deserves to be in this conversation as well. Interceptions are typically the most sought after stat when evaluating corners and safeties, which is something Quin has done at an elite level for some time now.
Quin is currently tied for 3rd in the league in interceptions with two in 2017. His instincts and range have allowed him to succeed all over the field this season. While typically he lines up as the lone center fielder of the defense, Quin showed versatility last week in coming down into the box frequently as injuries began piling up for the linebackers.
Quin adds three pass deflections to his two interception total in coverage. But he also has looked good versus the run. He often takes good pursuit angles, allowing him to make plays against the run 15 yards off the ball and in the box. Quin has had a habit for closing out games in recent seasons and came up clutch again last week, with a game-clinching forced fumble to defeat a division rival on the road. His ability to lead this defense and play at an elite level are paramount for the success of this team and should receive be deserving of more recognition. If he keeps helping the Lions win games like he has so far this season, Glover Quin will be one hard man to ignore.