Allen Park — Detroit Lions defensive back Quandre Diggs and his new position coach, Brian Stewart, go way back. The two first met in 2004, when Diggs was 11 years old.
Stewart, a former defensive back himself, was a young coach with the San Diego Chargers. There he coached former first-round pick Quentin Jammer, Diggs’ brother.
“He was bright-eyed,” Stewart said on Tuesday. “He was around us a lot. I coached his brother for three years — ‘04, ‘05 and ’06 — so he has a pretty good idea about my temperament, especially being around us and being around his brother.”
Stewart’s temperament, as he describes it, is tied to his passion for the game.
“I think I am what you see,” Stewart said. “I love football. I respect and admire the game of football. I try to make all my actions reflect that.”
Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, despite several coaching stops over the years, doesn’t have any previous connection with Diggs, but that hasn’t prevented the player from making a strong first impression.
“I like him, a lot of position flexibility, can play a lot of different positions,” Pasqualoni said. “Studies very, very hard. You go into a meeting with Q, and he wants to know. He’s going to study it. He’s going to learn it. He’s going to have it down pat, so that when he goes out on the field, he can communicate, he can make calls and he can be one of the leaders in the back end of that. He is a pro. He’s a pro in the true sense of the word.”
Diggs, entering his fourth season with the Lions, is coming off the best year of his young career. After a strong start to the campaign as the starting nickel, he made an unexpected shift to safety after Tavon Wilson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
Diggs took to the transition like a duck to water, delivering big hits in the open field and recording interceptions in three straight games, the first picks of his career.
Pasqualoni didn’t commit to a position for Diggs in 2018, only saying he's capable of playing multiple spots at a high level. Earlier this offseason, Diggs made it clear he doesn’t have a preference.
“I feel comfortable anywhere,” Diggs said earlier this month. “I’m a football player, man. That’s always been my M.O., since I played little league football. I’ve been able to play a little bit everywhere.
"I just like to play ball, go out and compete. Wherever they put me each and every week, I’m going to compete and I’m going to go do my best to win that matchup.”