Lions' Freeney relishing another go at opposing QB

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Dwight Freeney could see more action in his second game for the Lions.

Allen Park — Dwight Freeney craved more opportunities to get after the quarterback last week.

The future Hall of Famer just might get his wish in his second game with the Lions.

With defensive ends Ziggy Ansah and Cornelius Washington dinged up and dealing with injuries, Freeney could have his number called more often Sunday at Tampa Bay for a defensive front that’s desperate for a spark.

Freeney, who was claimed off waivers from Seattle on Nov. 22, played 17 snaps in his debut last week against the Ravens, but didn’t pop up in the stat sheet and didn’t record a tackle.

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“It’s an adjustment because you get in there and you don’t really know much so you’re more worried about getting lined up right rather than feeling the game the way that you normally feel it,” Freeney said. “I think that's just part of the process. But I felt pretty good, though. My body felt good.”

The Lions have struggled to generate much of a pass rush in recent weeks, something Freeney has had a knack for throughout his 16-year career. He showed flashes of it last week by nearly chasing down Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco for a sack.

Freeney said he’s leaving the decision on how much he plays and what situations he’s put in up to the coaching staff. Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Freeney was “fine” in his first game and whether he takes on a bigger role would depend on the situation.

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“Obviously, we didn’t get as much pressure on the quarterback, that doesn’t necessarily fall on him completely,” Caldwell said. “But I think for the first day out there, first time out, working within the system, he was fine.”

The Lions have mustered three sacks over the last three games against the Ravens, Vikings and Bears. They have finished three contests without a sack and only four times have they recorded more than two in a game. Heading into Sunday’s showdown against the Buccaneers, the Lions rank 24th in the league with 23 sacks.

“Yeah, I think he did OK,” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “But I think overall, I’m looking at more overall, we just didn’t get enough pressure. We didn’t get enough. We did not harass the quarterback enough last week. That’s something we have to do better. So, I’m again, continuing to look at ways to try and improve our rush, to try to improve our ability to get pressure on the passer.”