Oct 13, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis (31) breaks up a pass intended for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
For a guy who just picked up with the Lions on a one-year deal less than a month before the regular season started, Mathis has been pretty good. Especially for a guy who used to play in Jacksonville. He doesn’t have an interception this year, but he’s allowing a completion percentage of only 56.4 percent on passes thrown in his area, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF).
Mathis has played with a quiet confidence all season, neither explosively good or bad. That doesn’t really translate to huge impact plays, though he has broken up a few key passes. His biggest impact has been just playing well enough to keep the younger players off the field. That sounds bad, but you’ll see why it isn’t soon enough.
Mathis looked more like a warm training camp body than a starter when he got to Detroit. The fact that he’s playing at all, much less playing at a high level as a starter, has to be considered a major outperformance of expectations.
Mathis wasn’t a starter when the season began, but it didn’t take the Lions very long to learn that Darius Slay wasn’t ready yet (whoops, spoilers), so Mathis has been the starter since Week 3, and he has performed admirably in the role. Another very strong late free agency addition for the Lions.