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Lions' Lawson pounces on chance to start in secondary

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Nevin Lawson was glad to see his hard work paid off a couple weeks ago.

With Rashean Mathis missing the Week 8 game in London due to concussion-related symptoms, Lawson made his first start in the NFL against the Chiefs.

"I definitely was excited," he said. "That just shows you, you can never stop scratching; you can never stop grinding. This is the NFL. Sometimes you've got to understand your role and just deal with it. Instead of (complaining) and moaning, you just go out there and work."

Lawson, a fourth-round pick in 2014, could have another opportunity to start Sunday against the Packers (1 p.m., FOX) with Mathis out again due to the brain injury.

As of Friday afternoon, Lawson said he wasn't sure if he would start as the Lions could also use slot cornerbacks Josh Wilson or Quandre Diggs on the outside. But, based on coach Jim Caldwell's comments Friday, the team likes what it's seen from Lawson.

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"I think Nevin's one of those guys, man, he'll fight you and he hustles and he plays," Caldwell said. "He loves to play, and I think he'll fare well. He'll do his job."

Caldwell acknowledged that Lawson wasn't perfect in the game against the Chiefs, but praised him for hustling and doing his job.

Even though the Lions lost 45-10 to Kansas City, Lawson thought he played well. He finished the game with seven tackles and one pass defensed, and if he starts Sunday, Lawson hopes to show more progress.

"The more game experience, the more you understand certain things, and you get to understand the game speed," he said.

Obviously, playing cornerback against a Green Bay team with one of the NFL's top quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers, won't be easy, but Caldwell said it will take a team effort to limit the Packers' offense.

"It's not just Nevin; it's the entire group," Caldwell said. "Obviously, he puts pressure on your secondary, he puts pressure on your front, and that's what great ones do."