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

Ryan CladySep 17 06:13p

Denver Broncos DT Marvin Austin (non-injury), LB Lerentee McCray (knee) and LB Danny Trevathan (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. S David Bruton (shoulder) and OG Ben Garland [ More ]

Cyrus GraySep 17 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs DB Husain Abdullah (foot, quadriceps), RB Cyrus Gray (foot), WR Frankie Hammond (shoulder), WR Junior Hemingway (hip), OL Eric Kush (shoulder), LB Josh Martin (quadriceps, triceps) [ More ]

M. Jones-DrewSep 17 06:03p

Oakland Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew (hand) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Matt McCantsSep 17 06:03p

Oakland Raiders LB Sio Moore (ankle), CB Carlos Rogers (knee), WR Rod Streater (hip) and DE Justin Tuck (illness) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. CB Chimdi Chekwa (knee), [ More ]

Anthony SpencerSep 17 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys DT Davon Coleman (knee), LB Justin Durant (groin), LB Rolando McClain (groin) and RB Joseph Randle (concussion) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. DT Ken Bishop (illness), [ More ]

Montell OwensSep 17 05:53p

Detroit Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah (knee), LB Travis Lewis (quadriceps) and OT LaAdrian Waddle (calf) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. DT Nick Fairley (biceps), SS [ More ]

Brad JonesSep 17 05:43p

Green Bay Packers OT Bryan Bulaga (knee) and DB Micah Hyde (knee) both were limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. CB Casey Hayward (glute) and LB Brad Jones (quadriceps) [ More ]

Shaun HillSep 17 05:43p

St. Louis Rams QB Shaun Hill (thigh) was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Scott WellsSep 17 05:43p

St. Louis Rams CB Trumaine Johnson (knee), C Barrett Jones (back), TE Cory Harkey (knee) and C Scott Wells (non-injury) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. CB Brandon McGee (foot) was limited.

Tavon AustinSep 17 05:43p

St. Louis Rams WR Tavon Austin (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Kirk CousinsSep 17 05:23p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) could return around eight weeks after head coach Jon Gruden said Griffin will be in a cast for the next 10 days. [ More ]

Johnathan JosephSep 17 05:23p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) and S Shiloh Keo (calf) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. TE C.J. Fiedorowicz (foot), OG Ben Jones (ankle, knee), CB Johnathan Joseph [ More ]

Adrian PetersonSep 17 05:23p

The Minnesota Vikings intend to bring RB Adrian Peterson back after his legal issues are resolved.

Arian FosterSep 17 05:23p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

C. WhitehurstSep 17 05:03p

Tennessee Titans CB Jason McCourty (groin) and LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle) were limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. QB Charlie Whitehurst (finger) practiced in full.

Jonathan GoodwinSep 17 05:03p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (elbow), LB David Hawthorne (ankle), SS Marcus Ball (hamstring) and FB Erik Lorig (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. LB [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonSep 17 05:03p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion), RB Rex Burkhead (knee), OG Mike Pollak (knee), LB Sean Porter (hamstring), DT Brandon Thompson (knee), OT Andrew Whitworth (knee), OG Kevin Zeitler [ More ]

Dexter McClusterSep 17 05:03p

Tennessee Titans RB Dexter McCluster (foot) was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17, according to head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt thinks McCluster will improve as the week goes on. [ More ]

Greg HardySep 17 04:53p

Carolina Panthers DE Greg Hardy has agreed to be placed on the commissioner's exempt list, according to a source.

Xavier RhodesSep 17 04:53p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd (shoulder), LB Chad Greenway (hand, rib) and OT Phil Loadholt (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. CB Xavier Rhodes (groin), WR Rodney Smith [ More ]

Asa JacksonSep 17 04:53p

Baltimore Ravens DT Timmy Jernigan (knee) and OT Eugene Monroe (knee) both did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. CB Asa Jackson (concussion) and CB Lardarius Webb (back) both fully participated in practice.

Kedric GolstonSep 17 04:53p

Washington Redskins DE Kedric Golston (groin), LB Akeem Jordan (knee) and CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. PK Kai Forbath (groin) and FB [ More ]

Kyle RudolphSep 17 04:53p

Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen) was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Paul McQuistanSep 17 04:53p

Cleveland Browns LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. WR Travis Benjamin (knee), DE Desmond Bryant (wrist), DT John Hughes (hamstring), P Spencer Lanning (shoulder), [ More ]

Keith RiversSep 17 04:43p

Buffalo Bills LB Randell Johnson (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. DT Stefan Charles (hip), LB Keith Rivers (groin) and WR Robert Woods (ankle) all were [ More ]

Wes WelkerSep 17 04:43p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker will return to the slot receiver position in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks, moving WR Emmanuel Sanders back outside opposite WR Demaryius Thomas. [ More ]

Brett KeiselSep 17 04:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury) and SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. RB Dri Archer (ankle) and OG Ramon Foster (ankle) were [ More ]

Lance MooreSep 17 04:33p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Lance Moore (groin) fully participated in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Toby GerhartSep 17 04:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart (foot) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Cecil Shorts IIISep 17 04:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Eric DeckerSep 17 04:23p

New York Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring) did not participate in the portion of practice open to the media Wednesday, Sept. 17.

T Y HiltonSep 17 04:23p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (groin) was limited at practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

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