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

Philip RiversDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20.

Ahmad BrooksDec 20 07:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, OG Andrew Tiller, RB Carlos Hyde, OG Joe Looney, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 16.

Dennis KellyDec 20 03:32p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, WR Jeff Maehl, S Jerome Couplin III, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, DE Taylor Hart, LB Trent Cole inactive for Week 16.

Leonard HankersonDec 20 03:12p

The Washington Redskins have declared CB Chibuikem Okoro, LB Gabe Miller, DL Jason Hatcher, OG Josh LeRibeus, LB Keenan Robinson, WR Leonard Hankerson inactive for Week 16.

Roy HeluDec 20 03:02p

Washington Redskins RB Roy Helu (toe) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Peyton ManningDec 19 07:42p

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Frank GoreDec 19 05:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) was limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, and is questionable for Week 16.

Keenan AllenDec 19 04:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and WR Keenan Allen (shoulder, ankle) have been ruled out for Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cam NewtonDec 19 04:12p

Updating previous reports, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) has yet to officially be cleared to play in Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns, but head coach Ron Rivera [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice all week but is questionable for Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Peyton ManningDec 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was back to a full practice Friday, Dec. 19, after being limited Thursday, Dec. 18. Manning made several strong throws in the portion open to the media.

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:12p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice again Friday, Dec. 19, and RTV6's Mike Chappell is convinced that Hilton will not play in Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

C.J. SpillerDec 19 12:53p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) has been added to the active roster and is probable for Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders.

Cam NewtonDec 19 12:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) is listed as probable for Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns.

Blake BortlesDec 19 12:12p

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T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

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Eddie LacyDec 19 10:12a

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Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

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Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

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Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

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Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

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Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

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Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

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