Aug 9, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) runs with the ball after getting away from Detroit Lions linebacker Kyle Van Noy (95) during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Our own Alex Reno did a great breaking down the potential impact Abdul-Quddus could have one the Lions secondary this season and I couldn’t agree more. Last week AQ sealed a Lions win with a pick in the closing seconds of the game against Cleveland on a poorly thrown ball from Tyler Thigpen.
Expect AQ to build on that performance. For the Saints last season he produced a solid 6.8 grade in coverage from Pro Football Focus in 340 snaps in coverage. He intercepted two passes, deflected six more, and allowed opposing QB’s to complete just 43.8% of their passes which was good enough for a passer rating of just 21.9.
The Lions lack of experience at corner has been noted. If Bill Bentley can’t fit the bill as the Lions nickel corner, perhaps AQ could be an option.
Speaking of Bentley, he needs to show out over the next two preseason games. General manager martin Mayhew made the comments earlier in the offseason that it “If you don’t have it in three years, you don’t have it.”
Those comments apply directly to third year corners Bill Bentley, Jonte Green, and Chris Greenwood. Expectations might be highest for Bentley, because the Lions need him to fill a specific role and because he was the highest drafted of the three corners, but at this point, the Lions are probably hoping that one of the three can find a role on the defense this year.
Kyle Van Noy
Van Noy was close to making three of four highlight plays last week. Unfortunately, close can be the difference between a win and a loss in the NFL.
Against the Browns Van Noy missed a few tackles in the backfield that would have kept Browns’ QB Johnny Manziel from converting two first downs and broke up a pass the looked an awful lot like a strip fumble.
Van Noy and Ebron are having a lot thrown at them. Both are on the right track to be playmakers for the Lions this season. In Van Noy’s case, he just needs to finish plays.
Nate Freese and Sam Martin
Freese was perfect on his attempts last week and appears to have taken a stranglehold on the battle for kicker. At this point, Freese just needs to continue to be accurate and the door will firmly shut on Giorgio Tavecchio. I’m also interested in seeing if the Lions find themselves in any long field goal situations.
The one knock on Freese is the strength of the leg, but the Lions could use Sam Martin in long distance situations. While accuracy is a concern he definitely has the strength to get it there as evidence by his 65 yard field goal (video below).