Gunther Cunningham: Vanden Bosch best player he's coached

Maybe Gunther Cunningham is a man who is occasionally driven to use a hyperbole, but that’s not often the case.

The Detroit Lions defensive coordinator gushed on Thursday when he talked about Kyle Vanden Bosch, the team’s prized pickup in free agency. Vanden Bosch was all over the field in the Lions’ season-opening loss at Chicago, finishing with 11 tackles. He chase running backs down across the field on screen passes and tackled wide receivers from behind downfield.

“I've coached this game a long time and I've coached some really good players, I've been really fortunate and a few of them are in the Hall of Fame -- in fact, more than a few -- and I think this is the best football player I've ever been around in my life,'' Cunningham said, according to Tom “Killer” Kowalski of "You can talk about stats and sacks, but put on the tape and watch that game. It's the most unbelievable effort I think I've ever seen in 30 years of coaching by any position player. Derrick Thomas had (seven sacks against Seattle), but it's not about the sacks, it's about the relentless attitude.

"There was one play when he had three guys around (Bears receiver Devin Aromashodu) and couldn't get him to the ground. (Vanden Bosch) rushes the passer 10 yards up the field, they grabbed him and jerked him down, he rolled up and sprinted 30 yards downfield and killed the guy. That guy still hasn't practiced this week. I can't say enough about him. He's a gentleman, he's a professional.

"After the game, I saw him by the bus and said, 'Kyle, here's the deal. You have to take some time off of practice. I can't get you out, you've got to do it.' And he looked at me point blank and said, 'Well, I can't do it either so I'm going to practice.' And he played 79 plays, which is unheard of. I don't know what else to add to that, other than I'm honored to be able to coach him.

"I could go back through a list of players that I've coached, and they're all great, but I've never seen one like this. Ever.”

I was at Soldier Field for the game and Vanden Bosch was extremely impressive. Bears offensive linemen talked during the week before the game about him having the best motor in the league. They weren’t kidding. Cunningham saw what they were talking about. Better than DT? Well, he was a ferocious edge rusher. Vanden Bosch clearly is the best defensive player the Lions have had in some time and he makes them instantly better.

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