By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – The Detroit Lions plan on safety Louis Delmas being ready to go this fall, his knee all healed up from the issues that forced him to have surgery before last season and that made him miss eight games in 2012.
Then again, the Lions are also readying themselves for the possibility Delmas will not be available.
“We’re prepared either way,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. “We’re prepared for Lou to be our leader on defense and be out there 16 games, but we’re certainly prepared for him for him not to be out there. Hopefully that won’t be the case.”
Schwartz is leaning toward the first option.
“There’s no player I’m more confident in than Lou,” Schwartz said. “I’ve said so many times, he’s the heart and soul of our defense, and he’s got an incredible amount of toughness. It took a lot of discipline from his standpoint, from him and us, to sit this whole offseason out.”
Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said that he cannot speak for the doctors and trainers but that, in his interaction with Delmas, the safety appears to be feeling better.
“Talking to him, I sure like the way he’s responding with me in those conversations,” Cunningham said. “He wants to play and he’s going to be ready to play on his part. My feelings about that, but like I said, everybody else has got to answer those questions.”
All Cunningham can do is pray – which he says he has been doing.
In the meantime, recently acquired safety Glover Quin is quickly picking up the Lions’ defensive schemes and impressing fellow players and coaches.
“He is something,” Cunningham said. “We had a meeting the other day and I turned to [vice president of pro personnel] Sheldon White, and I said, ‘Quin.’ He goes, ‘Professional.’ I said, ‘That’s the best description I’ve ever heard.’ That’s him – all about business, every day.”
The coordinator was also pleased with the way Quin attacked an area of weakness in his game.
“He’s doing a great job in the deep middle of the field,” Cunningham said. “He didn’t have a good background in that, but whatever the issues are, he works at them and he’s really improved that.”
Another member of the secondary commanding attention has been cornerback Darius Slay, a rookie out of Mississippi State. Cunningham described Slay as having no conscience, meaning he takes a fresh approach every play and does not hold onto mistakes.
“That may be the number one criteria for any corner you want on your team – he doesn’t let things bother him,” Cunningham said. “He is very sharp, he was really well-coached in college … and he’s touched the ball a lot.”
Overall, Cunningham likes much of what he has seen so far. Alas, as everyone knows, all the good impressions in summer mean relatively little in the grand scene of the actual football season.
“This is sweat suit practice,” Cunningham said. “We need to find out what they’re going to do when camp starts, but they’ve all had a pretty good offseason, and I’m really impressed by the secondary’s ability physically. Now let’s see if they can play like that in a real game.”