Detroit Lions Season Preview 2014: Defense

3 of 5

Dec 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions outside linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) celebrates after making a play during the second quarter against the New York Giants at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports


Stephen Tulloch, DeAndre Levy, Tahir Whitehead, Kyle Van Noy, Ashlee Palmer, Travis Lewis

The Detroit Lions also return all their starting linebackers from 2013, plus they have added some young talent on the outside.

NFL veteran, Stephen Tulloch returns to the middle linebacker position, and DeAndre Levy will be back in the weak-outside linebacker spot in 2014. Levy lead the Lions in interceptions last year, and is set to have another career year with the Lions this season.

On the strong-side of the linebacking core are last years starter, Ashlee Palmer as well as Tahir Whitehead. Whitehead was primarily a special teams stalwart in 2013, but during the Lions exhibition season this year, the roles may have been reversed.

The Lions linebackers will be doing some heavy blitzing under Teryl Austin’s defensive schemes. Former defensive coordinator, Gunther Cunningham stuck to rushing the quarterback primarily with the front four, so the LB’s have had a learning curve to deal with this offseason. Whitehead has impressed coach Caldwell early on.

Also new to the Lions in 2014 is second-round pick out of BYU, Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy is a perfect fit for Austin’s playbook, however he will not be on the field until at least the seasons half way point.

After undergoing muscle core surgery last Thursday, the Lions placed Van Noy on short-term injured reserves.