After Tulloch Injury, Levy leads defense

DeAndre Levy continues to be among the most important players on defense for the Lions, stepping up to take the place of an injured Stephen Tulloch.

Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy doesn’t seem to crave the spotlight.

Levy has quietly become one of the best linebackers in the NFL but doesn’t generate the same amount of buzz as other star players at his position. He just does his job – and does it as well as anyone – with little fanfare.

Levy seems to prefer to let his play speak for him, however, he was thrust to center stage of the defense on Sunday afternoon against the Green Bay Packers.

Starting middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who operates with an ear piece in his headset and leads the defensive huddle for the Lions, injured his knee celebrating early in the game and was not able to return. As a result, the Lions turned to Levy.

By all accounts, the transition was seamless and Levy handled the responsibility without issue.

“The thing that happened today, where (Levy) had to take over the headset and then also communicate the calls to the defense, is something that ordinarily Tully does, but he did a great job with it,” said head coach Jim Caldwell. “He was not fazed by it, did not get frustrated or flustered at any point in time. He really did a nice job.”

Levy helped lead one of the more impressive defensive performances for the Lions in recent memory and didn’t flinch. He showed no panic and looked comfortable in a situation that wasn’t as easy as some might think.

“It is (an adjustment). It’s not something I was used to doing, you got to switch your helmets,” said Levy. “You don’t really get a chance to adjust, to speak, to test it out. The headset wasn’t working very well, the volume was off, the helmet didn’t have air in it, my chin strap was wrong. That was only for like two series but I managed. The big point I wanted to make was keep our composure, keep our composure. I’m in front of the huddle now, I can’t be panicking, screaming at the sideline about my helmet. Just keep my poise and keep rolling.”

Levy didn’t show any signs of difficulty to his teammates but did gain a new respect for Tulloch.

“He asked me about it,” said Tulloch. “He asked me, he was kind of like mad respect, the fact that you can do that because there is so much coming in and so much going out. He did a good job of responding and holding it down for us.”

Levy overcame the added responsibility and contributed a game-high 10 tackles, defended two passes and registered a safety.

There is an argument to be made that he has been the team’s most valuable player through three games this season because he helps out in so many areas. He is stout against the run and an asset in the passing game. The latter of which he demonstrated by covering the Packers’ number one wideout, Jordy Nelson, in the slot.

“It’s great because he’s very athletic. A guy like Levy is just athletic,” said cornerback Darius Slay. “He’s a really talented guy. We already knew we would have to help him but he’s proven his ability that he can do anything he wants to. He’s a great player, man.”

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