Bob Wojnowski, John Niyo, and Justin Rogers look ahead to this weekend's game with the Bears and the Lions' playoff chances. Detroit News
Allen Park — Darius Slay has come a long way, and one person who has been there for it all is Glover Quin.
Quin signed with the Lions in 2013 after four years in Houston, the same year Slay came into the league as the Lions second-round draft pick out of Mississippi State.
In his first season as a full-time starter in 2014, Slay quickly learned a lesson from the veteran about mental focus.
“(He) had a series of plays where he missed a tackle and got a penalty, and there was like two minutes left in the game,” Quin said. “I went to him and told him ‘Hey man, I need you to stay locked in. You went from having a great game until the last minute. We’ve got to stay locked in until the clock is over.’”
This past Sunday against the Browns perfectly underscores Slay’s growth, according to Quin.
In the final two minutes of the game, the Lions were leading by two touchdowns with Cleveland knocking on the door of the end zone. But, Slay intercepted DeShone Kizer to shut the door on the Browns.
“Those are the situations where you make plays, get an extra tackle, an extra pass breakup,” Quin said. “To think about that happening back in 2014, and you look at him now on Sunday, down two touchdowns and they’re trying to move the ball down the field, and he catches a pick to end the game.”
“I think that’s the growth that you see he’s made over these years. He’s become a great player.”
Slay said Quin’s influence has helped him become the player he is today.
“He’s a great influence,” Slay said. “At a young age, the ball was coming fast. Now it’s coming way slower, that’s a big change. (Quin makes) me look at formations, being ahead of the game instead of just balling out.”
During Quin’s first three years with the Lions, he notched more interceptions than his teammate, something both say is a friendly rivalry.
In 2016, both had two picks. Through nine games this season, Slay has four to Quin’s three.
“A lot,” Slay said when asked how much pride he takes in having more interceptions than Quin this season. “He’s been beating me since I’ve been here. I’ve tipped a lot to him and he’s tipped none to me. He’s selfish.”
“If I catch one Sunday and we get to four apiece, I think we can make a wager for the next six games and see what happens,” Quin said. “It’s a healthy competition.”
“I’ve played more with him than I have anybody else in my life. To see the success he’s having this year is great.”
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer