Lions' Matt Prater has evolved on, off field
Allen Park — Matt Prater’s 52-yard field goal at Soldier Field in mid-November allowed the Lions to escape with a 27-24 victory heading into an important Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Vikings.
On the surface, it was just another big kick to add to the long line of big kicks Prater has made since he joined the Lions in 2014.
But when you dig a little deeper, it was a big shot to the gut for John Fox, Prater’s former coach in Denver who released him after a four-game suspension stemming from a positive alcohol test.
Prater was in the NFL’s alcohol abuse program after a DUI arrest in 2011 made him subject to random tests.
At the time of his release in Denver, Fox said the Broncos move was based on a “football decision.” The team also had Brandon McManus waiting in the wings after a trade with the Giants, and with Prater due to miss four games, the Broncos decided they didn’t just want McManus to be a placeholder.
On a conference call with reporters, Fox commended Parter on how he’s evolved both on and off the field.
“Every time we come there, since I’ve been with the Bears, it’s good to see him,” Fox said. “I know he’s settled down, has a wife and child, and it’s fun to watch young guys not only grow in their profession, but their growth as men.”
Prater has become a weapon for the Lions, routinely pulling them out of tough situations and delivering victories in the waning moments of games.
Fox has noticed that the man he saw set an NFL record with a 64-yard field goal in Denver in 2013 has continued to blossom on the field as well.
“I think everybody goes through different cycles, and I can just say that standing here today, very proud of what he’s done in his career,” Fox said. “I’ve been very impressed with what he’s been able to accomplish.”
Lions safety Glover Quin left social media earlier this season and has no plans to go back anytime soon.
In speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Quin acknowledged that may be playing a role into his dropping out of the top 10 in the Pro Bowl fan-vote for free safeties.
“I got off social media,” he said bluntly. “I don’t promote myself, put myself out there. I just go out and play.”
Players all across the NFL have really been ramping up their Pro Bowl campaigns over the last few weeks, including Quin’s teammates Golden Tate and Darius Slay.
Quin has only made the Pro Bowl once in his career. It was in 2014 when he led the NFL in interceptions with seven. Despite being the leader of the Lions defense and routinely praised by coaches and peers as one of the best in the business, he hasn’t been back since.
“I never got voted in by the fans even when I led the league in picks,” he said.
“The thing about the fan stuff that intrigues me is that you can have a player that comes from a huge market (like) Kam Chancellor, who I think is leading for strong safeties, but he’s (injured) and isn’t having a good year.”
“I get a lot of love from Detroit fans, but I got off Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Just disconnected and focused more on football and family. Social media takes a lot of time.”
Since leaving social media after Week 3 of the season, Quin says he has had time to do a lot more reading and other things that he may not have had time for if he had been on his phone worrying about what was going on with his twitter mentions.
He does admit that there are a few shortcomings to being disconnected.
“I’m just kind of out of touch,” he said. “If I don’t hear it in the locker room, I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t watch the news. The only time I really miss it is if I have a message I want to get out and not having the platform, having to go through someone else.”
Adding and subtracting
The Lions made a change along the defensive line Wednesday, claiming defensive tackle Rodney Coe off waivers from Seattle and parting ways with defensive end Kasim Edebali.
Undrafted out of Akron in 2016, Koe has already spent time on four rosters. The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder was active just one game for the Seahawks this season, playing two snaps against the Jaguars last Sunday.
A high school running back and linebacker, Coe spent two years at a junior college and a year at Iowa State before finishing at Akron. As a senior in 2015, he started 11 games, recording 46 tackles, 8.5 for loss, and two sacks. He was named third-team All-MAC.
“Coe has the size and quickness that could be very appealing for a 1 gap oriented defense looking for a late-round prospect to groom,” NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein wrote about Coe before the 2016 draft. “Coe’s athleticism is undeniable, but he doesn’t always translate it into a more consistent pass rush. Beyond that, his draft stock could be determined by how teams view his maturity and character.”
Edebali, claimed off waivers from Denver last month, appeared in four games with the Lions, averaging 12 defensive snaps. He didn’t record any tackles.