Grading the 2014 Detroit Lions: Taking A Closer Look At the Defense

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Nov 9, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions outside linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports


DeAndre Levy: A-. Without Stephen Tulloch in the fold, the pressure was on Levy to be the cleanup man inside and out and he was, collecting the most tackles on the team with 151, including 15 for loss and 2.5 sacks. Levy didn’t have nearly as big as a season with regards to interceptions, but he didn’t have to considering he had less freedom in compensating for the loss of Tulloch.

Tahir Whitehead: B+. If there was ever the definition of a player that improved mightily as the season wore on, Whitehead was it. Following the injury of Stephen Tulloch, The young Whitehead was thrown to the dogs and performed well to keep up with the speed of the NFL. Credit him for keeping his head above water and showing he could play at a high level.

Josh Bynes: C+. Bynes came in at mid-season and helped fill the void in a nice way for the Lions’ linebacking core. He didn’t do much great, but he did help fill in and provide the defense with good minutes in a pinch. Bynes is the type of player the Lions have struggled to find in the past, and he did a nice job after coming over from Baltimore.

Ashlee Palmer: C-. It’s hard to imagine Palmer as a starter much longer, but without Van Noy, that had to happen most of the early part of the season. There’s no doubt that Palmer can play a big role on special teams, but in the last two years, we’ve learned that’s likely his ceiling moving forward. As a starter, Palmer doesn’t do much to wow anyone, considering his modest statistics.

Kyle Van Noy: Incomplete. Injury forced the Lions from throwing Van Noy to the dogs to see what they had early in the season, so it’s unfair to give him a grade for the second half considering he was learning on the job. He had his troubles when on the field, but physically, there’s plenty to like.

Stephen Tulloch: Incomplete. Given his solid track record as a pro, it’s hard to imagine Tulloch doing anything but being a statistical beast. Unfortunately, he was injured early in the season after celebrating a sack and forced to sit out, meaning giving him a full grade would be next to impossible.

Next: Safeties