Oct 6, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley (88) runs with the ball as Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) defends during the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Where to start? In addition to being locked up with Tulloch for the team lead in tackles, Levy has pulled down four interceptions, which is good for the team lead and twice as many as any Lion had in the entire 2012 season. Passes thrown in his coverage area have a QB rating of 61.0. He is Pro Football Focus’ top-rated 4-3 OLB in coverage with a rating of +7.7, and sixth overall at +3.3. This is the definition of a breakout season.
One of Levy’s interceptions was returned for a touchdown, another was a touchdown called back on the illegal block that cost Ndamukong Suh $100K. Then he pulled down two interceptions against Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns, both of which killed potential Browns scoring drives. And that’s saying nothing of his tackling prowess or seven passes defensed. Levy has been nothing but impact this season.
When Levy signed a three-year contract on the eve of free agency, everyone wondered why. Why would Levy decline the open market? Why would the Lions not see if they could drive his price down? After all, he was only average on his best day.
Clearly, they knew something. Levy is playing out of his head right now, even though he could do a better job containing outside runs. Nitpicky, I know.
Levy is still prone to mistakes when playing the run, but his work in coverage has been so phenomenal it almost doesn’t matter. He’s playing far beyond the level he was expected to be, and the Lions look like geniuses for locking him up for three more years.