While Saftey James Ihedigbo is new to the Detroit Lions for the 2014 season, he isn’t new to the NFL.
Ihedigbo joined the Lions via free agency having spent the last seven years with the Baltimore Ravens. Ihedigbo, who is set to replace Louis Delmas, had 101 tackles and three interceptions last season with the Ravens.
He is also joining former defensive coordinator in Baltimore, Teryl Austin in the Motor City. Austin has hired to be the Lions defensive coordinator during the off-season.
The Lions will lean on them to shape a secondary that still has no clear-cut starters on the corners.
Ihedigbo doesn’t mind the mentor role.
“We’re like brothers,” he said of the secondary. “We study together, we know the success of our team is riding on our shoulders.”
“They do embrace some of the knowledge I have to offer,” he said. “I’ve played in big games and started in Super Bowls. They listen to the knowledge, but that’s knowledge I’ve learned from guys like Ed Reed.
“We go back and forth. Younger guys may ask for my opinion and sometimes I see something and let them know what I think. We look out for each other.”
Coach Jim Caldwell said he’s glad to have the two veterans, Ihedigbo and Glover Quin to direct traffic.
“Those guys are like the quarterback back there in that perimeter,” Caldwell said, “so they do a great job communicating.
“They do a great job making sure everybody is in the right place and I think that’s key.”
The Lions ranked 23rd in pass defense last season and got only eight of their 15 interceptions from defensive backs. They enter 2014 with a young group of cornerbacks, most notably Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood and Darius Slay, none of whom have played more than two full NFL seasons.
Veteran Rashean Mathis also is in the mix at cornerback.