Chris Houston will start at one cornerback spot. That much is obvious. Who starts opposite Houston? The Lions will have to choose between rookie Jonte Green or newly re-signed Alphonso Smith if Bill Bentley, listed as doubtful, is unable to play. Jacob Lacey has already been ruled out.
Who gets the start with Houston isn’t really a big deal considering both Green and Smith will have to play a big role throughout the game. The situation gets interesting beyond that. With the Lions down to just two healthy cornerbacks at the end of last week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, safety Amari Spievey played corner in nickel packages with Erik Coleman coming in as the other safety next to Louis Delmas.
Spievey was originally drafted as a cornerback but was quickly transitioned to the safety position during training camp as a rookie.
The Lions will be forced to make the same Spievey to corner, Coleman in at safety move should one of the Lions’ three corners go down with an injury or any time the Lions go to a dime package on defense. Needless to say, sliding Spievey down to corner and bringing Coleman in off the bench is less than ideal. Not only is it reaching further down the depth chart than the Lions would like, it also increases the likelihood of breakdowns in the back of the defense.
The good news is that the Lions have had all week to prepare for this very scenario. That wasn’t the case last week when the way the game unfolded necessitated the Lions do whatever necessary to simply field a complete defense after the loss of Lacey and Bentley. Can the Lions secondary hold things together in Chicago? They’ll have to or it could get ugly.