A little over a year ago, the Detroit Lions signed safety Glover Quin off the free agency market from the Houston Texans in an attempt to help out their struggling secondary. The prized free agent acquisition signed a five-year, $23.5 million contract with the Lions, hoping to make an immediate impact.
“Glover Quin’s been a great signing for us thus far,” General Manager Martin Mayhew said last July. “He’s just great in the locker room, really smart player. He’s going to be a productive player for us.”
Martin Mayhew was right, as Quin recorded 57 tackles, two sacks, and three interceptions in his first year with Detroit and became a top defensive weapon in the secondary.
Nevertheless, before signing with the Lions, Glover Quin played for the Houston Texans, where he was drafted in the fourth round after playing the cornerback position at University of New Mexico. However, the coaches decided to move him to the safety position shortly after being drafted.
“I was open to the switch.” Glover Quin told Detroit Lions Pro. “I knew it would help my career and extend it because I could use my corner experience to help me be a versatile safety.”
And as it turned out, the switch couldn’t have gone better for Quin. He has excelled at the safety position ever since. The Lions safety now looks to improve upon Detroit’s disappointing season in 2013, hoping to revamp the secondary with new Secondary Coach, Alan Williams, and new Secondary Assistant, Tony Oden. The Lions, who are a win now team, fired former Head Coach, Jim Schwartz, during the offseason and hired Jim Caldwell as their new head coach earlier this year.
“I’ve heard nothing but good things about Coach Caldwell and (Defensive Coordinator) Coach Austin, and after talking with them I feel the same way!” Quin said. “I’m excited about the new staff and the changes that will be made!”
One of the biggest moves that Martin Mayhew and Jim Caldwell made so far this offseason was releasing starting safety Louis Delmas. Delmas then signed a one-year, $3.5 million maximum deal with the Miami Dolphins just weeks later. And although Detroit replaced Delmas with Ravens safety James Ihedigbo on Monday, they will continue to look for Quin to provide a heavy contribution in the secondary.
“I’ve always been a player that understood my role. I’m a player so I focus on playing.” Quin told Detroit Lions Pro. “I let the coaches coach, managers manage, and owners own. I trust they will make a great decision for us!”
Quin also looks forward to playing free safety when the regular season approaches. After much debate on whether the University of New Mexico alum would play either strong safety or free safety, the Lions made the decision to put Quin in the role of free safety after signing Ihedigbo from the Baltimore Ravens. However, Quin’s versatility allowed Detroit to search for a specialized safety like Ihedigbo, showing just how valuable he really is.
“That’s the value of having that multidimensional, versatile defender,” Martin Mayhew said before signing Ihedigbo. “A guy like Glover can play strong or free. It gives us flexibility to go out and get a guy who can play strong or free. Our next (safety), whether it’s a draft choice or free agent or whatever, we can put him at either position.”
Here’s what Quin had to say about the idea of playing either free safety or strong safety before the arrival of Ihedigbo.
“I am open to strong or free safety! I think I have a skill set that works for both! I like playing in the box and being in the mix of things but I’m open to either,” he mentioned to Detroit Lions Pro.
As in terms of his contributions on defense, Quin would also like to extend his role to make an impact in the blitzing game as a free safety, however, he knows it’s consequences can be harmful.
“Safety blitzes are fun but risky,” Quin stated. “Anytime you blitz a defensive back, you put a lot of pressure on other guys to cover who may not be on the team to cover like linebackers and defensive linemen.”
James Ihedigbo also serves as a valuable piece on any defense, as he displayed last season. With the losses of playmakers like Ray Lewis and Paul Kruger on defense after winning the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens needed some players to step up, and Ihedigbo definitely fit that mold. Racking up many career high numbers in 2013, the former Raven recorded 101 total tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles in route to leading the defense under Secondary Coach Teryl Austin, who ironically now coaches for the Detroit Lions as their Defensive Coordinator.
Nonetheless, Martin Mayhew and Jim Caldwell still understand that improvements to both the offense and defense need to be made, most likely coming from the draft in May. The two obvious positions the Lions still must improve are at cornerback and wide receiver, even with the signing of wide receiver Golden Tate earlier this offseason. Detroit is expected to draft either a cornerback or wide receiver come May 8, and their top choices at the cornerback position are Justin Gilbert and Darqueze Dennard, while their top choices at the wide receiver position are Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, and Marqise Lee.
The Lions also generated a lot of heat and controversy last year after ending their season 1-6 down the stretch in their final seven games, leading to another missed playoff opportunity despite other injury-plagued NFC North teams. Nevertheless, Quin is optimistic about this upcoming season, believing that Detroit is just a few weapons shy from being a championship team. But more than anything, the free safety knows along with his team what needs to be done in 2014.
“I just think we all have to commit to the long haul of the season and buy in to the team first mentality,” Quin said on what he thinks the biggest need is to become a contender. “When you play for your brother and give everything for him, you can accomplish a lot as a team.”