While we’re running through our Pride of Detroit awards over the next two weeks, our own John Whiticar asked our readers to weigh in on a topic that wasn’t one of the awards this year: Who was the Lions’ unsung hero for the 2022 season?
John’s answer was Alex Anzalone, a compelling choice given how low most fans were on the Detroit Lions linebacker going into last season. His play undeniably improved and provided some stability in the center of that defense.
Perhaps even more interesting, though, is that your responses were all over the dang place. In fact, that’s exactly what commenter enelsoniii noticed, too:
Reading the comments brings up a remarkable point — so many candidates. That alone is a great show of the culture. You can make the case for so many that I wouldn’t single anyone out.
I have to agree. The fact that Lions got meaningful contributions out of so many players shows that there are plenty of guys on this team who know that every time they take the field is an opportunity to give it their all.
Let’s look at some other comments from that post for five other reasonable choices for unsung hero of the Lions 2022 season.
Umpire Strikes Back went with a low-key defensive free agent signing:
I would put my vote in for DeShon Elliott. The defense just took a big step back without him yet he wasn’t listed in any Top 50-100 free agents that I’ve seen so far. I think he’s got to be 2nd priority to resign after Jamaal, and if we go into the season with him, Kerby, and a recovering Tracy Walker, I’m surprisingly confident in our safeties.
ajmojo brings up an interesting point about the tight end room after the T.J. Hockenson trade:
I’m going with Brock Wright. While his numbers weren’t eye popping by any means, he became a steady force once Hock got traded. He sealed the game against the Jets with one of his four TDs and was a key on providing blocking and pass protection.
It’s become a running gag at Pride of Detroit that “no one talks about John Cominsky,” but outside of the Lions fanbase, it remains true. Gonzalezq makes a good case for him here:
Cominsky. When he couldn’t play due to injury, the defense collapsed. He came back early with a club for a hand, and the defense got markedly better.
The Lions offensive line now has three Pro Bowlers: Jonah Jackson, Frank Ragnow and Penei Sewell. 12Jamie reminds us to not forget about the fourth guy, who just so happens to play the most important role on the offensive line:
I’m going to say Taylor Decker.
No-one really mentions him as he’s not a shiny new toy. But it’s really important to have good play at left tackle. And I don’t think the offense is nearly as productive without the bookend duo of Sewell and Decker.
1951LION went with my choice for Breakout Player of the Year, Kalif Raymond:
There are quite a few that stepped up their this year. Kalif Raymond was a solid 4WR coming into the season, clearly behind Chark, St Brown, and Reynolds. He was sharing time and snaps with Cephus at one point.
He certainly stepped forward and played the Burleson or MJJ role to a T. I wanted an upgrade from him before the season. He proved to me, and others, how good he can be.
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