With nearly a complete overall both on and off the field, now is a good time for any Detroit Lion to shine.
Amid a pandemic that impacted the entire world, there was quite a bit of missed practice and many players struggled to find consistency as things around them changed day to day.
Pro Football Focus’s Anthony Treash chose one player from each NFL team who is due to bounce back. When it comes to the Detroit Lions, the PFF analyst believes it’s safety Tracy Walker redemption season.
In his first two years in the league, Walker scored a combined 82.5 PFF grade and landed 12th among safeties with at least 1,000 snaps in that two-year timespan. But things took a turn in 2020, when his grade sharply dropped to a 51. He also allowed a 73.5 completion percentage in his coverage area.
“Walker was tasked with playing closer to the line of scrimmage as opposed to free safety where he was at his best,” Treash writes.
As for his outlook in 2021, PFF asked for input from ESPN’s Eric Woodyard on what we can expect from Walker this season. He’s back to his free safety role under Aaron Glenn’s new scheme and it seems to be working.
“Coach Dan Campbell also praised the leadership of Walker, even sharing a funny training camp story in which Walker paid his fine for not fulfilling a $50 bet that he would get an interception during practice. ‘He owes me two,’ Campbell joked. Walker has been impressive under the new regime,” Woodyard writes.
Per detroitlions.com’s Tim Twentyman back on June 5, here’s what Walker had to say about this new regime:
“I’m just bought in on learning this new scheme and as much as I can from these coaches. The resume speaks for itself with the previous safeties that they’ve coached. They made a lot of plays. Vonn Bell, Marcus Williams, both those guys are Pro Bowlers. It just speaks for itself. Malcolm Jenkins, I could keep going. All were great safeties and made a lot of plays and they all listened to AG.”
Tracy Walker says he's "just so happy" to be under this coaching staff and this defensive scheme.— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) June 3, 2021
Aaron Glenn says Tracy Walker has been "fantastic" in the film room. Says he's eating up as much information as he can.— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) May 27, 2021
And onto the rest of your notes.
- Some sad news — Detroit Lions legend Leonard Thompson who spent 12 seasons with the team between 1975-86 has passed away. You can read more about his life and legacy from Detroit Free Press’s Ryan Ford.
- I did not realize former Lion Logan Thomas has had such a wild journey in his career. The Athletic’s Dan Pompei has more on that, including his time in Detroit, and what he’s up to now. (Subscription required.)
- Bud Light released their limited-edition “For the Fans” design for each team. The Lions cans and bottles have rally cries like “Defend the Den” and “One Pride.”
oooOoOoOoo the new Bud Light For the Fans limited-edition cans are sweet. the Detroit Lions ones have catchphrases like One Pride and Restore the Roar, let’s goooo @budlight @Lions pic.twitter.com/5RVhuLvgp2— Kellie Rowe (@kellierowe) August 19, 2021
- I think the headline of Carlos Monarrez’s latest piece says it all: “I can’t believe Detroit Lions were stupid enough to cut Don Muhlbach on his 40th birthday” (Subscription required.)
- CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin compiled his All-NFC North team, featuring a handful of Lions. Most are a given, but there was one name at the bottom I was like heyyy, okay.
- It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the yeaaaar.