One of the reasons for all the optimism in Detroit heading into this season was the arrival of rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley. As it turned out, the optimism was justified — the Lions are 6-2 — but Fairley has hardly seen the field.
However, there’s still plenty of optimism about Fairley on the Lions’ coaching staff.
“He’s as healthy as he’s been since the injury in training camp,” head coach Jim Schwartz told the Detroit News. “We’re ready to see some big things from him. We are expecting to see some big things from him.”
Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham was giddy about the things Fairley was doing on the practice field this week.
“This kid, he made a play Thursday that I made all the coaches show in their meeting,” Cunningham said. “It went beyond something I’ve ever seen from a big tackle. . . . This guy is gifted athletically. He’s faster than [Ndamukong] Suh. I don’t know if you know that.”
So the Lions believe Fairley is going to be a force in the second half of the season. After his foot injury limited him to three games and a whopping one tackle over the first half of the season, that would be a welcome change.