Dec 20, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Kyle Van Noy (3) celebrates after scoring on a fumble recovery in the end zone in the fourth quarter against the San Diego State Aztecs in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. BYU defeated San Diego State 23-6. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions to Showcase Versatility on Defense

The Detroit Lions will maintain a 4-3 identity on defense but that doesn’t mean they won’t take advantage of opportunities to give opposing offenses a different look. New defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said he will utilize the blitz more than the previous coaching staff but one thing that will remain the same is valuing versatility and using it to their advantage.

According to notes out of this weekend’s rookie minicamp, we can expect to see the Lions showcase versatility at all levels of their defense.

The headliner of the Lions draft on defense is outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy. He’ll do just about everything out of his position at outside linebacker but that won’t be the only place he’ll line up depending on the situation.

The 2012 Poinsettia Bowl was something of a Van Noy showcase in which he had a major impact on the game on special teams, in pass coverage and rushing the passer.

The Lions waited longer than many wanted to draft a cornerback but they did come out of the draft with Nevin Lawson. He’s just 5’9 but hands long arms for his height and is known for a (sometimes overly) physical brand of coverage. His height suggests a slot corner but his aggressiveness could play well on the outside.

Lawson has a battle for a roster spot with what is a crowded group of young corners, but the Lions may use him both inside and out if he can stick into the regular season.

The focus on versatility and situational use extends to returning players as well. Jason Jones was set to be an important member of the Lions defensive line playing outside on early downs and occasionally rotating inside on passing downs but his season lasted just three games before being knocked out by a knee injury. He’s back this year and the Lions will be counting on him to move around the defensive line in 2014.

If solid situational play and a variety of looks leads to an increase in sacks and turnovers, the Lions defense may be one that surprises next season.

Tags: Detroit Lions Jason Jones Kyle Van Noy Nevin Lawson

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