As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2012. Next up is our look at the Detroit Lions' defensive ends.
Cliff Avril - 16 games (16 starts) | 35 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 1 pass defense, 2 FF
Although it's not necessarily saying much, Avril was by far the Lions' best defensive end in 2012. He had 9.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles, which were the best numbers among the defensive ends. Even so, Avril seemed to disappear from games at times, and he didn't quite live up to the $10.6 million franchise tag he received. That's not completely on him given that the defense as a whole had issues with putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but I would have liked to see more consistency from Avril.
Kyle Vanden Bosch - 16 games (16 starts) | 36 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 pass defense, 0 FF
Vanden Bosch was a disappointment in 2012. His number of sacks was cut in half from 2011, and he didn't force a single fumble after posting 4 FF a season earlier. It's clear that he is nearing the end of his career, and given what he is earning, I'm sure the Lions would like to be getting more production out of him.
Lawrence Jackson - 15 games (0 starts) | 20 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 0 pass defenses, 1 FF
Jackson's sack numbers were also down from 2011. He did put together a fairly strong finish to the season, though, which should help his case to be re-signed with him set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Willie Young - 16 games (0 starts) | 11 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 1 pass defense, 0 FF
Before the season, Young was expected to be one of the breakout players on the entire team. He ended up being a non-factor for the most part, though. He didn't have a single sack, and he only had 11 tackles all season. The theme with the Lions' defensive ends is that they didn't live up to expectations in 2012, and that especially applies to Young.
Ronnell Lewis - 8 games (0 starts) - 2 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 0 pass defenses, 0 FF
Lewis was inactive for the final seven weeks of the season and really only played special teams when he did dress. This isn't completely surprising since he was considered to be a raw talent when he was drafted. However, his inability to make an impact on special teams did come as a surprise. He was ineffective enough that he was made inactive for half the season, and that's pretty disappointing.