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Lions defensive line “will have some fun” in 2014

Ezekiel Ansah AP

The Lions brought in a new coaching staff this offseason after firing Jim Schwartz, including defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.

Austin inherits a defensive line that has been the strength of the Detroit defense for several years, but his tweaks to the unit will not leave that group alone. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said that the group “will have some fun” in 2014 and one of the big changes appears to be the way that players will line up. Austin is planning to move players around to create mismatches and boost a sack total that has dropped in each of the last three seasons. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is one of the players who will be lining up in a variety of places.

“I like the changes we have now,” Ansah said, via the team’s website. “I don’t always have to be on the right side. I can get up and move around and drop into coverage. I think [Austin] is a great coach and going to bring a lot to the team.”

The Lions’ defensive line has not always played up to the level their talent would suggest, so it makes sense to find ways to maximize their output. That may be especially true of Ansah, who had eight sacks as a rookie while lining up in the same spot pretty much every time he stepped on the field and could see even better results when offenses have a harder time planning for him.

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24 Responses to “Lions defensive line “will have some fun” in 2014”
  1. lionswinsuperbowl says: Jul 10, 2014 1:15 PM

    I think they will be above average but they can really take that next step if Nick Fairley becomes consistent. He has the ability to be a top 5 DT in the NFL.

  2. thepftpoet says: Jul 10, 2014 1:18 PM

    The Lions Defensive Line is overall pretty solid, but lacks depth that a real defense needs – Such as the Minnesota Vikings.

    Here’s a look at our amazing front 4.

    Brian Robinson – The true formula of Jared Allen’s success, A dominant defensive end in his prime who you can mark down for another solid double digit sack season.
    Sharif Floyd – An athletic freak who hasn’t had a starting job yet to show his full potential – has an upside of Geno Atkins in Zimmer’s Defensive scheme.
    Linval Joseph – A powerful Nose Tackle who soldifies the middle of our defense, a top 5 NT according to PFF.
    Everson Griffen – Another athletic freak who just entered his prime, had double digit sacks the season before last one as a rotational pass rusher.

    There’s no reason we shouldn’t be a top 5 defensive line this year.

  3. kev86 says: Jul 10, 2014 1:21 PM

    Lions favored in week one vs. NYG. Let’s see if they can back up all of their off season boasts. Go Blue.

  4. thekiy says: Jul 10, 2014 1:32 PM

    The Lions didn’t generate enough sacks last year, but that is one of those stats you can’t really rely on.

    Using PFF’s numbers, the Lions were the third best pass rushing team in the league last year behind Houston and Seattle, and had more hurries and pressures than any team in the league.

    If they are going to have more ‘fun’ this year, opposing QBs had better make sure to get the ball out quickly…

  5. mintberrycrunch1 says: Jul 10, 2014 1:33 PM

    I’m hoping to see a few interesting tweaks to the D-line this year.

    Ansah, Devin Taylor, and Jason Jones all have the ability to move inside to DT, while Suh and Fairley have the ability to move out to DE on occasion.

    Combine that versatility with 3 linebackers that all have good athleticism and potential pass rush ability in Tulloch, Levy, and Kyle Van Noy and you have a front 7 that could cause some confusion and havok in the backfield.

    Schwartz had the Lions playing so vanilla in only rushing 4 every play for the last few years, it never seemed to cause much mental stress on the opposition.

  6. garlandchapko says: Jul 10, 2014 1:38 PM

    This team is riding on Stafford this season, no more excuses we went and got him Golden Tate and drafted Ebron #10 overall, Broyles is healthy for now and we still brought back Pettigrew who is a solid blocker and improved last year on his drops. I’m only worried about our CB situation, right now its looks shaky to me but the unit is young and has potential.

  7. thekiy says: Jul 10, 2014 1:40 PM

    Schwartz had the Lions playing so vanilla in only rushing 4 every play for the last few years, it never seemed to cause much mental stress on the opposition.

    ******

    Schwartz had me swearing at the TV pretty much all last season. I’m still not crazy that they kept Gun around in any capacity this year.

  8. hyzers says: Jul 10, 2014 1:40 PM

    Doesn’t help when the defensive coordinator literally NEVER sent anyone but the front 4. Teams would max protect against a 4 man rush and try to get the ball out as quickly as possible. I expect Teryl Austin to be a lot more aggressive and disguise the blitz a lot better. Like the previous poster said, sacks alone don’t tell the whole story. When Willie Young gets more QB hurries that almost every other defensive lineman in the league, that says something too.

  9. purpleguy says: Jul 10, 2014 1:42 PM

    The line can be great if Fairley is consistent; however, the secondary seems to still have some questions.

  10. DonKellyBaby says: Jul 10, 2014 1:46 PM

    Our defensive line has always had talent, however, when you consistently lineup in the same spots and ask your front 4 to generate all of your pass rush, you aren’t going to put up the sack numbers you should.

    The Lions very rarely blitzed their LBs and hardly ever did gap exchanges, stunts, or twists to mess with the offensive lines pass blocking responsibilities.

    The addition of Van Noy should ignite our outside pass rush as well. No longer will QBs be able to roll out and escape the inside pressure Suh and Fairley create.

  11. metrocritical says: Jul 10, 2014 1:52 PM

    The Lions’ performance in the 2014 season will either confirm that the Schwartz regime was rife with incompetent coaches or emphasize the necessity to completely clean house, from top to bottom. It’s either one or the other.

  12. doe22us says: Jul 10, 2014 1:57 PM

    Everyone and every team is good during the of-season can we get a pulse check from these guys mid season or a quarter left of the season.

  13. bsubeavers says: Jul 10, 2014 1:58 PM

    Lots of talent on the line, the question is can they play as a unit? If this unit plays well will it turn in to wins though is a better question.

  14. bassslaper says: Jul 10, 2014 2:10 PM

    The Lions defensive line has fun every year, that’s we they choke year after year because there is no leadership or consistent play. To many clowns and dirty selfish players (Suh and Fairley mainly) Hence the “Have fun” comment like the circus they have always been.

    Detroit finishes 3rd or 4th again, in their division.

  15. dino2997 says: Jul 10, 2014 2:16 PM

    Lions defensive line is all about having fun. Forget about winning.

  16. gjdodger2 says: Jul 10, 2014 2:17 PM

    Freep writer says Suh and Fairley are both likely gone after this year and the Lions will go to a 3-4. They might as well have fun while they can.

  17. lionsdraftguy says: Jul 10, 2014 2:36 PM

    gjdodger2 – The Freep writer has no idea what hes talking about. I see Fairley being gone, but now Suh. And they will not go to a 3-4.

    I could write a book on Lions related stuff these writers dont know and most fans dont know.

  18. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 10, 2014 2:44 PM

    Well they haven’t generated much output because we haven’t had much talent at the LB position (or the secondary) over the years, and we should have pulled from our strength and had more DLs on the field in place of some of those LBs that took those reps, not to mention there has been a major problem in players across the board not understanding how to get into position to make the play. A general lack of personnel and coaching has rendered our defensive scheming awful for a long time now, and we’re ready for the fun to be unleashed so bring something new!

  19. walkinginthewasteland says: Jul 10, 2014 2:45 PM

    The Lions D will have lots of fun, getting extra defensive series 2-3 times a game for each pick that Stafford throws.

  20. ragnarthegreat says: Jul 10, 2014 2:59 PM

    As a Vikings fan, I always worried that this would be Detroit’s year. They are stacked with talent but never put it together like they could have. This year is no different. They could be tough, but will they? BTW sacks won’t help you against the Vikings. You need to stop Peterson. let’s see if that is fun.

  21. crapsandviche says: Jul 10, 2014 3:31 PM

    *FIXED* Lions defensive line “will have some fun getting heavily penalized because of Suh’s stupid behavior” in 2014

  22. dalcow4 says: Jul 10, 2014 3:51 PM

    The Lions D gets all kinds of hype because of Suh and the media’s portrayal of Schwartz as some tough defensive genius.

    The truth is they weren’t that good the last couple years and it will fall to the improved offense this year to carry the team.

  23. DonKellyBaby says: Jul 10, 2014 3:56 PM

    @djdodger

    Suh could easily play the 5 technique in a 3-4 defense.

  24. granadafan says: Jul 10, 2014 6:22 PM

    But their leader is a loner!

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