Already considered the most glaring weak spot on the team going into the 2014 NFL season, the Detroit Lions’ secondary threatened to be spectacularly bad after injuries plagued the group throughout the exhibition schedule.
And yet two games into the regular season, Detroit’s DBs are holding their own. Cornerbacks Darius Slay and Rashean Mathis, free safety Glover Quin and strong safety Isa Abdul-Quddus have led a unit that has the Lions ranked ninth in the league in pass defense.
With the Green Bay Packers coming to town this Sunday, Detroit’s secondary faces a test that can either embolden or expose them. That test comes in the form of top-flight receivers Jordy Nelson — who leads the NFL in targets and is tied for the lead in receptions — and Randall Cobb, and of course quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the former league MVP who is coming off a 346-yard, three-touchdown performance against the New York Jets last week. Rodgers is 9-1 in his last 10 games against the Lions.
From The Sports Xchange:
Slay, a second-round pick in 2013, has played tight in man coverage, but struggled a bit in zone thus far, which he said will improve over time.
“I’m playing at the level I need to be playing at,” Slay said after the Lions’ 24-7 loss to the Panthers on Sunday. “One thing I can do is just get better, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
But Nelson’s receiver partner, Randall Cobb, will test the Lions, too, especially with Bill Bentley and rookie Nevin Lawson — their top two nickel cornerbacks — already on injured reserve. Playing primarily in the slot, Cobb has 11 catches for 97 yards and three touchdowns.
One strength of the Lions that is no secret is their defensive line. But Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Ezekiel Ansah can only get to the QB so many times during a game. Detroit’s secondary will have to cover in order to beat the Packers.