Lions' Quin makes big impact in breakthrough season

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Allen Park — In the middle of each week, Lions safety Glover Quin holds what he's dubbed "Sound-Byte Wednesdays" in the locker room. It's his version of an impromptu press conference where he'll take questions about almost any subject.

He's touched on a number of topics, from NFL expansion in Europe, overhauling voting for the Pro Bowl, discipline for Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, and many other topics.

He might be talking about making the Pro Bowl himself in a couple of weeks.

With his sixth interception of the season, in Sunday's win over the Vikings, and his steady play all year, Quin has elevated his profile and could find himself in Arizona with the best players in the league when the final votes are totaled.

Quin, in his second season in Detroit, has been timely in making big plays, including his pick that got the Lions out of a 14-0 deficit and set up a touchdown. He's not only doing the talking in front of his locker on Wednesdays, he's letting his play on the field make a bold statement.

"It's a great feeling to be able to impact a game and make big plays," Quin says. "It's a lot of hard work that goes into a game and a lot of times, you put in a lot of work and you make one play and all the work you put in for that one play is totally worth it. We've been having plenty of opportunities and they have continued to multiply as we continue to seize every game."

His stellar play, along with the rest of the defense, has the Lions at 10-4, holding a tiebreaker over the Packers with two games left in the regular season. With a road game at Chicago on Sunday, the Lions are in a position to clinch a playoff spot.

Even more, they can clinch the division title with a win and a Packers loss, or with two wins, including a showdown at Green Bay in the finale. But as coach Jim Caldwell has cautioned against looking too far ahead, Quin is trying to stay focused on just one opponent.

"Nothing happens unless we win the next game," Quin said. "If we go out and don't take care of our business (it won't matter). Everything happens when we take care of our business. Our focus has to be on getting ready for Chicago. We know they're going to give us their best shot."

While there's plenty of attention paid to the defensive line and the pressure they've put on quarterbacks to induce some of the mistakes, Quin, along with James Ihedigbo, are making the plays to turn games in the Lions' favor.

There's a certain knack that players have in order to make plays at critical times — and Quin has shown that he has that ability to come through. Caldwell, in stints with the Colts and Ravens, has seen how Quin has grown.

"It just hasn't started this year," Caldwell said. "If you've played against him like we have (with the Colts), you could tell right at the onset that the guy studied his craft, he works extremely hard. So, when I watch him and have a chance to see him up close and personal, his work habits are impeccable. This guy is in here early in the morning, he does extra in every single phase. He's a highly, highly intellectual player in terms of just football knowledge and concepts.

"He has a lot of pride in what he does and he does a great job making certain that he communicates with the guys all around him."

For most of the season, the Lions have had one of the top defenses in the league and there are many players that have contributed, but Quin's improved play is just one that stands out. He is tied for the league lead in interceptions, with the Browns' Tashaun Gipson, and Quin's six picks are the most for a Lions defensive back since Dre Bly had six in 2005.

It's just another element that Quin brings to the table, a trait that Caldwell admires.

In football, there's not one guy, typically, that's going to be able to dominate play that well where he can kind of make up his mind that he's going to make a difference and all of the sudden make a play," Caldwell said. "He always seems to be where the ball is and that's because he hustles, that's because he recognizes quickly, and that's because he catches them when they throw it.

"He's got a knack for that."