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Adrian Donofrio - LionsFans.com
Nobody can deny the talent on the Detroit Lions defense. With raw talent in the backfield and seasoned vets on the line, new coordinator Vince Tobin is probably dreaming of the infinite possibilities. Most of those possibilities come on that defensive line.
The defensive line has been solid for years. With Pro-Bowl quality players with Luther Elliss and Robert Porcher, the D-line promises to be good again this year, especially since Porcher promises to have another great year, after admittedly dragging his feet last year after contract disputes. But what makes the line better than ever, and possbly the best overall line in the NFL, is the excellent depth.
Collectively, the Lions D-line, including backups, have 213 sacks. New additions include Alonzo Spellman and rookie Shaun Rogers. Spellman all but promises a Pro Bowl year.
"Quarterbacks are in trouble. I will dominate," Spellman says. "Outside, nosetackle, it doesn't matter where I go. I'm going to dominate. If you come play the Lions I'm going to dominate you."
Spellman, who has 42.5 career sacks, including 5 last year, has an extra message for any opposing running backs.
"If you break out of the pack running back, I'm running you down."
Spellman is actually trying to compete for a starting job. Although its unlikely in the start of the season, many believe Spellman will find his way into a starting spot, at end or tackle.
Rookie defensive lineman Shaun Rogers, who was projected as a first rounder, was practically stolen by the Lions in the second round, because of an ankle injury. He also figures to be in the rotation somehow, as he has recovered from his injury remarkably fast.
Remarkably fast also describes another potential gem lineman in second year player James Hall. Hall felt compelled to make an impression on the coaching staff, and he did that the first preseason game against the Bengals. With 7 tackles and 4 sacks, he cemented his roster spot as a speedy defensive end.
Other players include long-time starter Tracy Scroggins at end. He has 58.5 career sacks and had 6.5 last year. He is slated as the starter opposite of Robert Porcher, but he needs to be strong throughout to keep his starting spot with so much talent on the bench. Kelvin Pritchett also will make appreances, with nice run stopping skills and a career 31.5 sacks. James Jones is also a starter, and is relatively safe to stay as a starter with exceptional run stuffing ability. Jones has 37.5 career sacks, with 3 last year.
The talent is there for the Lions to do marvelous things, perhaps unheard of things rushig the passer. Opposing QB's have nothing to look forward to when there is always fresh legs on the field chasing after them, especially since those legs are all possible starters anywhere else.