Bob Wojnowski, John Niyo and Justin Rogers talk about what went wrong against the Panthers and what has to go right against the Saints on Sunday. Detroit News


Allen Park — There’s an adage in college football that if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one. But having two, equally capable cornerbacks has proven beneficial to the Lions.

Since the start of the season, the Lions have rotated Nevin Lawson and D.J. Hayden on the outside, with a near-even split in playing time.  It isn’t unusual to see the team mix-and-match players on the defensive side of the ball, based on skill sets, but coach Jim Caldwell said that’s not necessarily the case with Hayden and Lawson.

“Probably more similarities than differences because both can run, both have quickness, both are tenacious,” Caldwell said. “There’s probably a lot more similarities and that’s kind of why you see both of them in there a considerable amount of time.”


Caldwell said he likes the idea of keeping both fresh throughout the game. It also allows each to contribute on special teams, especially Lawson, who averages about 10 snaps per game on the units.

Lawson out-snapped Hayden in last Sunday’s game against Carolina, but it can be easily argued it was Hayden’s best performance with the Lions. The offseason addition had a pair of pass breakups and a tackle for a loss, all in the second half.

“I think he’s been getting a little bit better each and every week,” Caldwell said. “I think he’s getting a little bit more comfortable. We sometimes forget about guys that haven’t been here with us two, three years. They’re still learning, but I do think that he’s coming along nicely.”

Twitter: @justin_rogers