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Hyder’s defensive domination earns him a close look

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Detroit — When it comes to playing the Buffalo Bills, everything seems to come in threes for Lions defensive end Kerry Hyder.

In last year’s preseason finale, Hyder came up with three fumble recoveries.

Then in Thursday’s 31-0 exhibition win over Buffalo at Ford Field, Hyder recorded three sacks, which would’ve been four if not for a penalty on cornerback Alex Carter.

Hyder’s performance highlighted an impressive defensive effort that limited the Bills to 170 yards of total offense.

“It was a great feeling. It seemed like the ball was rolling my way tonight,” Hyder said. “To leave a good impression going into cuts, it can't hurt you.”

With an abundance of talent along the defensive line, Hyder entered the game as one of the players on the bubble and certainly helped his case to make the 53-man roster with Saturday’s cuts looming.

As a defensive tackle last year, Hyder was cut shortly after the preseason but joined the Lions’ practice squad. He was eventually promoted and played two snaps in the regular-season finale against the Chicago Bears.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he was impressed with Hyder’s desire and effort as well as his ability to switch positions.

“I mean, last year he was inside, this year he’s outside. He changed his body type in order to kind of fit in where we thought he may be more suitable for us,” Caldwell said. “He’s one of those guys that loves to play. All during last year he showed up on the practice squad or anytime we were working offense versus defense and he was on the little squad, he had a knack for getting to the quarterback.

“He’s not flashy, but his effort, desire, he’s a skills man in terms of his skill, his ability to make you miss a pass protector. He can put some pressure on the quarterback. He’s just got a unique knack.”

On Buffalo’s second possession, Hyder displayed that knack as he was able to get into the backfield on a third-and-7 and take down quarterback EJ Manuel for a 9-yard loss to force a punt.

Two drives later, Hyder recorded his second sack on a third-and-18 to cap a defensive series where the Lions recorded three straight tackles-for-loss. Rookie Anthony Zettel started it with a 5-yard sack and Caraun Reid stuffed running back Daniel Herron for a 3-yard loss before Hyder dropped Manuel for an 8-yard loss and nearly forced a fumble.

In the third quarter, Hyder sacked rookie quarterback Cardale Jones on a third-and-15 at midfield, but it was nullified on an illegal use of hands call on Carter.

By the end of the night, Hyder found himself being double-teamed for the first time in “a while” but it didn’t matter. On Buffalo’s final drive, Hyder tackled Jones for a 2-yard loss on a third-and-13 to record his third sack and preserve the shutout.

"I was just trying to finish the preseason strong. My teammates were great out there, pressuring the pocket and I was just able to make some plays,” Hyder said. "I just try to put my best foot forward. When you leave preseason, you just want to leave something fresh on their minds and I was happy to put a stamp on my resume tonight."

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter.com: @jamesbhawkins