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Detroit Lions in Review - Linebacker

Linebacker is the one position the Lions are looking good in on defense. In 2009 they started the season with Larry Foote manning the middle while Julian Peterson and Ernie Sims handled the outside positions. At mid season however, Ernie Sims was injured and DeAndre Levy stepped in to replace him, doing an adequate job. When Sims returned it looked like Levy would step back, but then Larry Foote was injured and Levy then manned the middle.

Larry Foote's injury was a blessing in disguise. Foote had only signed a one year deal and though he led the Lions in tackles with 99 while only playing in 14 games, it was questionable if he would be playing in Detroit in 2010. I like Foote a lot and the fact he missed the last few games and still led the team in tackles says he is worth bringing back.
Grade = ( B+ )

DeAndre Levy is the one reason why we may not need to worry about having Foote back in 2010. The rookie started coming on at mid season and only got better with each week. In the last two weeks, Levy (a rookie remember) was making all of the defensive calls for the Lions defense. It speaks volumes that Levy also ended the season third in tackles with 85.
Grade = ( B+ )

Julian Peterson ended the season with 76 tackles but added 5 forced fumbles while he was at it. Peterson was not the flashy player in the stats as he once was but he was solid and consistent.
Grade = ( B )

Ernie Sims has so much talent but has yet to get it all figured out upstairs. Perhaps that could be due to the fact he never had a good veteran to help him along. The Lions drafted him for his speed and yet in four seasons he only has a total of 2.5 sacks. Yet he does show some knack for being around the ball as he had 100+ tackles in each of his first three seasons.
Grade = ( C )

Overall this group of linebackers is better than you might think. After all, it is near impossible for any linebacker group to look like a pro-bowl unit when playing behind arguably the worst defensive line in the NFL. There were just too many and too large of holes for running backs for this group to fill. They had to press so hard to help stop the run that it made it that much more difficult to drop back into pass coverage on pass plays. I think this could be one of the better units in the NFL if they had a decent team around them.
Overall Grade = ( B )

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