Every Tuesday during the season, we’ll grade the total performance every member of the Detroit Lions’ defensive backfield turned in the week before.
The New York Giants are facing an adjustment period as they work through the growing pains of a new look offense, but that certainly doesn’t devalue the performance of the Detroit Lions’ defensive backs on Monday night.
In limiting the Giants to 144 yards passing and only one touchdown through the air as well as forcing two interceptions, the Lions fought hard and excelled in adding to Eli Manning’s confusion. This was impressive given the team was forced to use a rookie cornerback, a backup safety and a rookie safety due to various injuries.
Here’s the week one rankings.
1. Darius Slay, CB, A. Slay was making his debut as a featured starter, and early, the Giants attempted to pick on him. It didn’t go so well. All night long, Slay was solid in coverage, and though he was penalized early on, did a nice job to rebound confidently. Slay was consistently in excellent position, and did a nice job to body up recievers. Manning didn’t have success throwing his way, and Slay even broke up three passes.
2. Glover Quin, S, A. A solid night over the middle for Quin, who made a key interception cutting in front of Manning and snatching a pass. He also collected five total tackles and broke up two passes. In a leadership role, Quin delivered huge results as a veteran stabilizing force. Games like Monday night are why Quin is worth the money for the Lions’ backfield.
3. Nevin Lawson, CB, B+. As Jim Caldwell hinted after the game, Lawson is young and essentially still learning on the job, but given the fact that he was thrust into the action early, he did a good job to hold his head above water. Lawson’s coverage was solid, for the most part, and he wasn’t burned nor did he allow a game changing play. Statistically, he only contributed one tackle, but being nearly invisible in the backfield as a rookie is hardly a bad thing.
4. Rashean Mathis, CB, B. Like Lawson, not much of Mathis was seen on Monday night, save for an exchange where the cornerback spun a Giants’ receiver out of bounds after a short gain. The Giants had trouble getting the ball to receivers, and Mathis held his own. Good start for the veteran.
5. Isa Abdul-Quddus, S, C+. New York’s only passing touchdown of the night came when they exploited a severe matchup advantage over Abdul-Quddus, essentially posting up gigantic Larry Donnell. Not much Abdul-Quddus could do in that scenario. Later in the game, he made a nice rush on Manning, pressuring the quarterback. All in all, not a bad night for the safety who was pressed into duty minus James Ihedigbo.
6. Jerome Couplin, S, C. Forced to play minutes due to Abdul-Quddus being shaken up, Couplin came in and held his own collecting two tackles on the night. The only downgrade for the rookie’s play has to do with his mental error on special teams when bull rushing the punter. Otherwise, he did a nice job. If Couplin is able to clean up those such mistakes, he will be a valuable member of the team regardless of how much game action he may see.
7. Bill Bentley, CB, INC. Early in the game, Bentley went down in a heap and sustained a knee injury. Afterward, Caldwell wouldn’t say that the cornerback had a torn ACL, but the injury still didn’t look to be good news. It’s possible the Lions might have to add a free agent such as Champ Bailey if they are forced to go without Bentley for an extended period of time. A serious injury would be an unfortunate break for Bentley, a young man seeking to break through in the league.