Detroit Lions 2014 Mid-Season Report Card: Defense

3 of 5

Sep 8, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions outside linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) is unable to intercept the pass during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Oh Captain, My Captain

The Detroit Lions defensive group as a whole looked like it took a possible insurmountable blow in week three when defensive captain, Stephen Tulloch went do with a season ending knee injury due to a botched “discount double check” celebration.

The rest of the guys in the Detroit Lions linebacking core quickly proved however, that they were ready to step up in their captains absence.

DeAndre Levy, who lead the Lions in interceptions in 2013, has continued playing great right into the 2014 season, and looks like he may be headed to his second strait Pro Bowl this year. He leads the team in tackles and tackles for loss by a wide margin, ranking in the top five in the league in both categories. It’s time for Levy to be recognized as one of the premier OLB in professional football.

The guy who has taken over for Tulloch on the field also deserves his share of recognition. Tahir Whitehead has played admirably while filling in the void left by the fallen captain, with his best showing coming in week six against the Minnesota Vikings. Whitehead gave us his best Levy impression that day, hauling in two interceptions off rookie quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater.

The other outside linebacking spot may have its best play still coming in 2014. Second-round pick Kyle Van Noy was sidelined prior to the start of the regular season with a sports hernia injury, but some expect him to return to the field after the Detroit Lions bye in week 10. With Van Noy’s presence on the field, a new dynamic will be added to the league’s No. 1 defense, especially during Teryl Austin’s blitz packages.

Linebacker Grade: B