Maybe it comes as a bit of a surprise the Detroit Lions prepare for Sunday’s game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field with a secondary that has been, well, an upgrade over units the team has had in the past.
The Lions have a long way to go but they enter seventh in the NFL in passing yards allowed – surrendering an average of 213.4 yards passing per game. But yardage is never the best indicator of a unit’s success and the opponent’s passer rating leaves plenty of room for improvement as Detroit is 26th at 93.4.
One of the factors in the rating is the number of passing touchdowns allowed and the lack of interceptions, something that can move the number quickly. And now the Lions will prepare for Rodgers with their eighth combination in the secondary this season, a stunning total when you consider this will be the 10th game.
“Just like a normal week of practice around here,” Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. “Change a couple of defensive backs and get ready for the next game. I looked at (secondary coach) Tim Walton last night and he looked like he was dead. I had to slap him a couple of times to wake him up in the meeting.”
Injuries have shredded the secondary. Starting cornerback Bill Bentley is out after shoulder surgery. Safety Louis Delmas has played in only three games because of his bad knees. Cornerback Chris Houston has missed time. Ditto safety Amari Spievey. It’s been musical chairs at high speed.
“We need to play together,” Cunningham said. “We had a couple of communication errors last week. We play quite a few coverages and there is a reason for it. When you have new defensive backs every week, you have to protect them somehow.”
They’ll need protection vs. Rodgers.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune