Allen Park — For the five years he’s been in Detroit, Lions safety Glover Quin has established, and routinely re-affirmed, he in one of the NFL’s most cerebral players.
With average size and athleticism, at least by NFL standards, his penchant for making plays is predicated on his ability to quickly decipher information and arrive to the spot before his opponent. Among other things, that ability has resulted in 19 interceptions during those five seasons.
So when Quin has uncharacteristically found himself out of position a handful of times this preseason, it’s raised at least few eyebrows.
In the opener, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch came around the left edge where Quin was the last line of defense. He didn’t get a hand on the ball carrier, allowing Lynch to race 60 yards for a touchdown (which was ultimately negated because of a hold at the line of scrimmage).
The 32-year-old Lynch isn’t exactly known for his breakaway speed, not at this stage of career, but the way it played out on television, it looked like he left Quin in the dust. It at least raises the question, is Quin losing a step?
When asked in the Lions locker room on Monday, Quin smirked as he gathered his thoughts.
“All I know is, the one thing that I’ve learned over my years is regardless of what you think, the game will tell the truth for you,” Quin said. “I might say sit here and say, ‘I feel great. I don’t feel like I’ve lost a step.’ But if you continue to see certain things over and over while watching the film, I might be like, ‘Man, I used to make that play.’
“Once you start saying those things, you have to look in the mirror and say, maybe I’ve lost a step.”
What did Quin see when he went back and watched the tape on Lynch’s run? Mostly, a bad angle.
“What I saw was I took an angle to come up and make the tackle and he shot out the back door,” Quin said. “And it was like, ‘Oh snap.’”
This is almost certainly one of those things you can chalk up to just being the first game of the preseason. And it should be noted that Quin, for the first time in his career, skipped the voluntary portions of the offseason program to spend extra time with his family. That’s naturally going to lead to some extra rust that needs to be knocked off, even after a couple of weeks of training camp.
“I think you have a little more (rust),” Quin said. “I play with my eyes, a lot, so just retraining your eyes to see certain things, certain formations and expecting certain things.”
Up until this offseason, Quin hasn’t shown any signs of his age negatively impacting him. But he turned 32 in January and is certainly closer to the end of his career than the beginning.
Last week, for the first time since he's been in Detroit, his wife and three sons attended a training camp practice.
“My kids are getting older,” Quin said. “For them to see Daddy get to practice was actually kind of cool to me.”
While he’s not planning out his retirement party just yet, Quin is self-reflective enough to know this season could be his last. Having his family at practice is a sign that he's making sure to soak in the moments.
And he made it clear Monday, as he's done in the past, he’s not going to needlessly hang on once he doesn’t like the Glover Quin he sees on tape.
“I still feel like I can play,” Quin said. “I still feel like I can make plays. If I felt like I couldn’t do it, I told you all in minicamp, if I felt like I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t. If I ever feel like I can’t do it, I won’t. That’s the way it is, it’s the way I am.”