The Detroit Lions Then and Now: Secondary


Then and Now is a SideLion Report mini-series in which we look at each position group from the 0-16 season of 2008 and compare it to the current roster.

The 2008 season was rough on the entire Detroit Lions team but it was particularly bad for the secondary. The unit intercepted just one pass and played a big part in turning the 2008 Detroit Lions defenses into one of the all-time worst. Here are the stats, although most of their “contributions” came in the way of passing yardage given up to opposing offenses:

Def Interceptions Fumbles Tackles
No. G Sk Int Yds TD PD FF FR TD Tkl Ast
27 Daniel Bullocks 16 0 0 0 2 2 1 1 63 30
28 Leigh Bodden 16 1 2 0 11 3 2 0 61 12
24 Kalvin Pearson 16 1.0 0 0 0 4 4 2 0 56 18
26 Dwight Smith 10 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 31 8
21 Travis Fisher 14 0 0 0 5 28 7
25 Brian Kelly 11 0 0 0 1 23 3
38 Ramzee Robinson 13 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 11 4
23 Keith Smith 10 1 0 0 7 5
42 Gerald Alexander 5 6 0
39 Stuart Schweigert 6 0 0 0 1 1 1
35 LaMarcus Hicks 7 0 2
46 Darnell Bing 1 0 1
30 Dexter Wynn 2 0 1
Team Total 16 28.0 4 16 0 46 22 33 1 714 299
Opp Total 16 52 15
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/29/2011.


Flash forward two seasons and the Lions have obviously improved in the secondary. Louis Delmas was a key addition at safety since the 2008 season and the cornerback position has been improved with some shrewd trades. Whether it be the solid pass rush the Lions now generate or an overall talent improvement in the secondary, the Lions started making more plays in the defensive backfield last season. Not surprisingly, the stats are much better for 2010 than they were in 2008:

Def Interceptions Fumbles Tackles
No. G Sk Int Yds TD PD FF FR TD Tkl Ast
26 Louis Delmas 15 2.0 0 0 0 1 2 2 0 62 22
23 Chris Houston 15 1 0 0 12 1 0 0 48 6
42 Amari Spievey 16 2 35 0 3 33 14
27 Alphonso Smith 12 5 48 1 8 1 1 0 30 9
39 C.C. Brown 15 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 32 9
26 Jonathan Wade 8 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 23 3
30 Nathan Vasher 14 1 0 0 5 13 4
33 Brandon McDonald 6 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 10 3
29 John Wendling 16 4 8
30 Eric King 3 4 4
41 Spencer Havner 5 4 3
38 Prince Miller 4 0 0 0 1 3 3
25 Randy Phillips 4 1 0 0 4 0
32 Aaron Berry 1 1 23 0 1 3 0
24 Tye Hill 4 2 0
33 Dante Wesley 3 1 0
Team Total 16 43.0 14 194 2 66 21 25 1 691 272
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/29/2011.

 

In actuality, the “now” is really just a more recent “then” since the Lions have a question mark at their top cornerback spot. Chris Houston will test the free agent market and the Lions will be one of the teams most prominently scouring it. A deep class of free agent corners means that the Lions could very well improve over Chris Houston, it is just a matter of how much that will cost. Nnamdi Asomugha will be the first target on fans minds but there are a number of quality alternatives, as our own Ace Anbender discussed recently.

The safety position is more set with Delmas and Erik Coleman, a free agent acquisition prior to the CBA’s expiration, expected to start with Amari Spievey seeing some action as he continues to learn the position and gain consistency.

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Tags: Chris Houston Cornerback Detroit Lions Louis Delmas Safety