If Detroit Lions fans can put down the pitchforks and torches that are headed for the team’s secondary for just a minute they might realize that former Oakland Raider Namdi Asomugha might not actually be someone they need.
The big complaint over what seems like the last half decade is that the Lions have no secondary. A few years ago the gripe was a legitimate one, but last year the team saw a definite improvement in their pass defense. So much so, that it was actually the 16th ranked pass defense in the league.
Okay, okay, 16th is not something to be super proud of, but it is better than where it used to be. The Lions used to always rank dead last or second to last in pass defense, so to jump from last to middle of the pack is sort of impressive. Not only that, but the team did it with some pretty significant injuries.
Think about this, the Lions started the season with Chris Houston and Jack Williams at the two corner positions. They finished with Houston and Nathan Vasher starting. Along the way they lost Alphonso Smith, Aaron Berry and Amari Spievey moved to safety late in the preseason. All preconceived notions aside, it is pretty hard to have an effective secondary with all of those players missing.
Many may not recognize most of the names in the Lions secondary. Some for good reason, like Williams who was released, others like Vasher and Berry though are from a lack of exposure. In fact, Vasher and Berry can be a big boon to the secondary, but for two very different reasons.
Vasher adds some nice veteran leadership to the group. He has know how and actually made a couple huge plays for the Lions from the secondary last year. Lets remember, he did have that huge tackle on Ronnie Brown to seal the game for the Lions against the Miami Dolphins. Many will still say “who on earth is this guy?” The truth is though, he is someone who will make a big difference once the regular season starts.
The other corner who will play a key role for the Lions is Berry. He looked incredibly promising in the preseason last year. That play transitioned to the regular season too, well the few quarters of regular season play he had last year. In the one game he played in, Berry picked off a Jay Cutler pass and then promptly injured himself only a handful of plays later. That said, the pick was definitely a nice one and showed he can plan in the NFL. Berry is young, can make plays and fits with this team. He could challenge for one of the corner spots.
For this plan to work, the Lions obviously have to retain Houston, but with the progress they made last year, one has to imagine he would not mind staying on the team. Partner Houston with Vasher and Berry, along with Alphonso Smith who is coming back from injury and suddenly Detroit has some corner depth. Plus, the team still has a chance to grab some unsigned free agents.
Asomugha would certainly be a great player for Detroit to grab. The truth is though, there are other guys out there if they wanted to sign a corner and the Lions could really use some help at the linebacker position. The money that would be used for Asomugha could be used on a few solid linebackers to play alongside Levy, Dizon and the rest of the core. The truth is, a high priced corner just does not look like something the Lions need right now.
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