2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Lions defense eager to beef up CB ranks

    2013-08-03 02:47

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By SCOTT HELD
Associated Press

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - Chris Houston appears to have one of the cornerback spots locked up in the Detroit Lions' secondary and the franchise has several options on the other side of the field.

Bill Bentley, who missed most of last season with an injury, joins veteran Ron Bartell and rookie Darius Slay in a competition for the other starting job. No matter who gets it, Bartell, entering his ninth season, likes the group he'll be playing with.

``We're definitely battling out there, but there's a lot of depth here,'' he said Friday. ``I feel like this can be a strong secondary.''

The Lions allowed 437 points during last season's 4-12 run, third-worst in the NFC, and 233.1 passing yards per game.

Houston started last season's final 14 games after recovering from an injury and Bentley showed early promise but missed the final half of the season with a shoulder injury.

Bartell, who played the first seven years of his career in St. Louis, was signed late last season after Oakland released him. He started the season finale across the field from Houston.

Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said he's excited about having a healthy Bentley on the field to start camp.

``He was hurt and he was one of the few guys in my career that I've seen on the sidelines in practice every day studying and watching the whole organization,'' he said. ``During the offseason, it was the same thing. He's out here and he knows what he's doing.''

Houston had a pair of interceptions last season and Bartell knocked down a pass in his lone appearance with Detroit. Cunningham said he feels like he has more talent to work with this year, more than just up front, where the Lions' front four has generated most of the attention in seasons past.

Slay, selected in the second round of April's draft, also drew praise from Cunningham.

``He knows the game, he understands the game,'' he said. ``Out here every day, it's really a unique situation to see him go against Calvin (Johnson). I kidded Darius this morning and asked him, `Do you really know who he is?'''

Bartell, the most seasoned player in the secondary, doesn't mind being the old man of the group - or swapping stories with seven-year veteran Houston.

``We've both been through a lot,'' Bartell said. ``There's a lot of times we can pick each other's brains and do what we can to help the younger guys.''

Coach Jim Schwartz wouldn't call Bartell old - he prefers ``veteran'' - but said he's happy to have someone else to give the younger players a sense of perspective.

``He has a calming influence out there,'' he said. ``He's out here competing every day but he's also trying to help the younger guys. You don't see him get rattled. Ron knows how to bounce back and be consistent. That's one of the things vets always bring.''

The Lions play their exhibition opener Aug. 9 against the visiting New York Jets and begin the regular season Sept. 8 when Minnesota comes to town.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

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Charles BrownSep 1 10:43a

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Ahmad DixonSep 1 10:22a

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The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent FB Lonnie Pryor (Buccaneers) and OG D.J. Morrell (Rams) to the practice squad.

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Emil IgwenaguSep 1 03:53a

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Vincent BrownSep 1 12:02a

San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Brown (calf) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

DeMarcus Van DykeAug 31 11:52p

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Mike ThomasAug 31 10:12p

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The Washington Redskins have claimed SS Duke Ihenacho off waivers from the Denver Broncos.

Brandon HarrisAug 31 09:53p

The Tennessee Titans have claimed WR T.J. Graham off waivers from the Buffalo Bills, WR Kris Durham from the Detroit Lions and CB Brandon Harris from the Houston Texans.

Garrett GilkeyAug 31 09:42p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have claimed OG Garrett Gilkey off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.

MarQueis GrayAug 31 09:32p

The Minnesota Vikings have claimed TE MarQueis Gray off waivers from the Cleveland Browns and OT Michael X. Harris from the San Diego Chargers.

Brandian RossAug 31 09:22p

The Miami Dolphins have claimed CB Brandian Ross off waivers from the Oakland Raiders.

Mickey ShulerAug 31 09:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have claimed TE Mickey Shuler off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons.

Damaris JohnsonAug 31 09:12p

The Houston Texans have claimed OT Jeff Adams off waivers from the Tennessee Titans, WR Damaris Johnson from the Philadelphia Eagles and CB Darryl Morris from the San Francisco 49ers.

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