Lions’ 'D' embraces ‘tough challenge’ vs. Colts

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
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"They're going to be a tough challenge for us right off the bat, so I think as a defense you want that,” says Lions' Glover Quin, who with Nevin Lawson slams Steelers' Eli Rogers during an exhibition game.

Allen Park – After months of training and offseason workouts, Lions safety Glover Quin is amped the moment is nearly here.

With just days remaining before Sunday’s season opener in Indianapolis, Quin eagerly awaits the opportunity for the Lions’ defense to make an opening statement against the Colts.

"They're going to be a tough challenge for us right off the bat, so I think as a defense you want that,” Quin said. “You want to come out and play against the best, you want to play against the good guys and it's going to help you down the road.

“You got to come in, you got to be prepared, you got to study. You're going into their house. They're going to be excited, we're going to be excited. It's going to be a fun game."

Perhaps the one player most looking forward to Sunday is Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who appeared in seven games last year until a lacerated kidney sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Luck said while he learned it takes a while for organs to heal and that he has to play smarter this year, last season’s injury won’t negatively affect his ability to get out and run.

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And despite injuries up and down the Colts roster and along the offensive line, Luck will still have running back Frank Gore and receivers T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief at his disposal.

"When you got a guy like Andrew, a big guy, he can run, has a big arm, can throw it, he can do it all,” Quin said. “The way their offense is set up, they run the ball and then he can get some play-action passes. He's got guys on the outside that can go get it and he’s got an arm he can get it to them.

“Whenever you do have those guys covered, he can take off and run it. When you come in and try to sack him, he's a big guy. He's tough to go down as well. He presents a lot of challenges for us. Obviously, he went to Stanford, so pretty smart guy. We're going to have to be on the top of our game."

Last season, the Lions’ defense ranked 10th in scoring (25 points) and 15th in yards allowed (349.6).

In the preseason, however, the first-team defense yielded mixed results. It got off to slow starts in back-to-back exhibitions, allowing the Bengals to score a touchdown on an eight-play, 74-yard drive on their first possession and surrendering two field goals and two touchdowns to the Ravens in the first half.

"I feel like we played good,” cornerback Nevin Lawson said of the unit’s preseason performance. “I mean, there's definitely some things that we wanted to work on that we did, but I felt like we did good and I have a good feeling moving on into the season."

With playmakers at every level in cornerback Darius Slay, linebacker DeAndre Levy and defensive end Ziggy Ansah, Luck is wary of the problems they and the rest of the defense can present.

“They’re an attacking defense with players all over the field. They can obviously rush the passer with Ansah especially. He’s a special player,” Luck said. “You got some good cover corners, some smart, active safeties and disciplined. You can tell they’re a disciplined defense and you’ve got to be on your stuff.

“(The secondary) is a play-making group and Slay seems to be the leader of that group. He shows up and makes a lot of plays. He’s a premier cover-corner and we know it’s a good challenge for us.”

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

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