Dec. 16, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA: Detroit Lions linebacker Ashlee Palmer against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Lions 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Palmer is playing decent ball, but he’s almost invisible out there. Only 11 tackles through eight games is unheard of for a starting linebacker. Then again, he’s in on less than 35 percent of the Lions’ defensive snaps. He loses a lot of field time to a nickel corner.
Minimal. Palmer has barely been seen out there this season, and he hasn’t done much with the time he’s had. He is a quietly solid run-stopper, though.
Any reasonable expectations for Palmer this season should have started with a simple plea to not completely implode. He certainly hasn’t done that. He’s a first-year starter, formerly an undrafted free agent for the Bills. The Lions aren’t asking him to do much, and he hasn’t done much, good or bad.
The impact of Palmer starting is mitigated by the Lions running the nickel defense as basically their base formation, which gets Palmer put on the sideline more than half the time. When Palmer does play, he stays quiet, in both good and bad ways. He doesn’t make big plays, and he doesn’t often give up big plays. He’s coming off his two strongest performances of the season against Cincinnati and Dallas, so maybe he’s growing into his role.