Tuesday, the Detroit Lions signed veteran safety Sean Jones, formally of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jones's addition provides the Lions something they sorely lacked last season at the safety position: quality depth.
With converted safety Amari Spievey inconsistent and dinged up parts of 2011 and Louis Delmas hurting plenty as well, the Lions were thin up the middle much of last year. They searched for mid-season help with free agent Chris Harris, but didn't find much of anything. The Lions were often forced to roll with injured players or push inexperienced rookies into fast duty in the defensive backfield. For a unit looking to vastly improve its standing, that's never the best solution towards taking the next step.
Not so anymore. In Jones, the Lions get a more than capable NFL safety with plenty of experience. He's dealt with the pressure of being a higher draft pick after being injured in Cleveland, dealt with replacing a legend in Brian Dawkins while in Philadelphia and dealt with underperforming in Tampa Bay. Now, older and wiser, Jones can come in and be a battle tested role player in Detroit, not being counted on to be a savior or a miracle worker.
It was simply another wise move by Martin Mayhew, as he quietly rounds his roster into excellent shape. A quick glance at Jones's career numbers tell a decent story. He's got 17 career interceptions, meaning he could be an excellent ballhawk to place next to a big hitter like Delmas. He's also registered 510 career tackles, something Detroit lacked last season from the second wave of defense. Mayhew always loves a good reclamation project, especially defensively. He's already resurrected the career of Lawrence Jackson, and is attempting to do the same with Everette Brown this year. Clearly, he believes he can strike similar gold with Jones, who's been given up on.
Should Jones come in and play solid, confident football, the Lions' secondary will reap huge benefits. If being forced to choose between a player with plenty of NFL experience or Ricardo Silva should injuries rear their ugly head, the choice should be obvious every single time. Now, the Lions have a bit more experience to fall back on at safety. For a young defense, quality veteran depth across the board is never anything to turn up your nose at.
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