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Lions safety Quin sees more picks after run stops

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Lions safety Glover Quin has been fined for hitting a defenseless receiver in Sunday's game against the L.A. Rams.

Allen Park — Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sharp throughout the team’s first five training camp practices, completing a high percentage of his throws to a bevy of receivers.

Whether it’s been 1-on-1, 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills, incompletions were far and few between and there was never a threat of an interception.

But on Day 6 of camp Thursday, safety Glover Quin came away with the first pick of Stafford during a scenario where the offense needed to score a touchdown from roughly 10 yards out on the game’s final play.

As the play unfolded, Stafford bounced around the pocket to buy time while receivers scrambled to get open before forcing a pass into the back of the end zone that Quin was able to get a hand on and tip to himself.

“I just try to make the plays that I can make,” Quin said. “I don’t know why people felt like I don’t intercept the ball. I mean I try to catch the ones that come to me and try not drop any.”

It’s something Quin hopes will happen more often this season. After recording a career-high seven interceptions in 2014, he followed that up with four more a year ago.

“I just didn’t feel like I had as many opportunities (last year),” said Quin, who’s entering his eighth season.

“Now that could be due to different teams that we played, different quarterbacks we played, the schemes that we played against, some of the schemes we ran. It could’ve been a lot of different issues. You know, hopefully this year I can do it again.”

Part of it also had to deal with the Lions’ struggles to contain the run during their forgettable 1-7 start, which allowed teams to pick apart the defense and find open receivers off play-action passes. During that eight-game span, the defense gave up an average of 134 yards on the ground and allowed at least 110 rushing yards five times.

“The better you are against the run, the more they’re forced to throw the ball,” Quin said. “We weren’t very good against the run early on so teams ran the ball on us. And when they can run the ball on you it keeps them in manageable down and distances and they don’t really have to throw it deep or make forced passes.”

The Lions improved in the second half, surrendering an average of 92 yards rushing and holding five opponents under 70 yards as they closed out the season with a 6-2 mark. To duplicate that type of success and increase the potential for more interceptions, Quin said it’ll be vital for the defensive line to control the line of scrimmage and tempo up front.

“Hopefully this year we’ll be better against the run, forcing them to throw it, scoring a lot of points on offense, getting teams down and forcing them to throw the ball even more,” Quin said. “We’ll see what happens.”