The Detroit Lions thought so highly of cornerback Chris Houston that they signed him to a five-year deal to keep him in the Motor City last March.
But Houston struggled mightily, as did the rest of the Lions’ secondary, in the first year of his new deal. Detroit’s cornerbacks accounted for just two interceptions last year – both by Houston – and were on the wrong end of too many big plays.
However, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew still has faith in Houston to be the player they felt warranted the long-term deal last spring.
“I’m very confident in Chris,” Mayhew said at the NFL combine, via Paula Pasche of the Oakland Press. ““He’s a veteran player, he knows how to play the game. …We’re confident in Chris’s game.’’
Houston played in just 12 games for the Lions last year. He posted 44 tackles, a career low, with just two interceptions and nine passes defensed.
The cornerbacks around Houston are also largely unproven. The four other corners have two years of experience or less and haven’t played much in that span either. Darius Slay was a second round pick a season ago that could push for more playing time and perhaps a starting role this season, but the Lions will still likely need to add to the position this offseason.
If Houston can take a step back toward his former self, it could help vastly improve the Detroit defense next season. For Houston, it has to be a benefit that the front office is still behind him after a down year.