(ALLEN PARK) - Lions starting weakside linebacker Donte Curry is in an unexpected position.
He's never started a season opener. He's only started a handful of games in his career.
Nevertheless Curry is comfortable and even confident as he prepares for the Lions matchup with the Chicago Bears this Sunday at Soldier Field.
Curry knows the impact that starting the season with a win could have on this football team and he isn't having any of this talk that Sunday's contest isn't a big game. Curry says it's huge.
"Well, every game is a big game and being that this is a divisional game, it's a huge game," said Curry. "Then it's a road game, so we have to win. I think this game right here will definitely tell and see where we're at right now, as far as how we played in the preseason up to now; are we ready? I think we're going to be focused and I think we're going to be ready."
Playing the weakside linebacker position opposite the tight end, Curry knows that there may be times he's "on an island" against a running back like Thomas Jones or Anthony Thomas who is catching a pass out of the backfield or on a run play. He feels he's prepared for the challenge.
"Thomas Jones, I know he's bounced around from team to team in the past three years and [Rex] Grossman is a young guy in his second year, a great athlete. Thomas Jones is an excellent runner, [he's] shifty. We're going to have to get on him quick. We're going to have to hit the hole and keep pounding him."
Curry has visualized how the game will reveal itself in his mind. He has in his mind a scenario that would be perfect for Detroit. He described it this way.
"[It] would be great if the offense is on the field first. We expect them to go down there with a big drive and either get seven, six or three points out of it. If not, then get great field position. If the defense is on the field, we play to just go out there and just stop 'em, get off the field and put our offense on the field."
The four-year veteran from Morris Brown has had to make several adjustment in this year's version of training camp. He's moved around to all three different linebacking positions and now appears to be settled on the weakside. He said focusing on assignments, rather than what position he's in, has been beneficial.
"I can play all three backers, it doesn't matter. It has been a big adjustment but you still have to know what every linebacker's doing, what every safety's doing, what every "D" lineman's doing. The only thing is fitting into different places as far as your run gaps and pass responsibilities."
While the media has been dwelling - and rightly so - on the team's three year road losing streak, Curry insist that, to a man, there's no additional pressure on the team because of it.
"Pressure? Me and the team, the squad, the guys inside this locker room, I don't think there's any pressure. The guys upstairs, I don't know what their mindset is, but I know we all want to go out and win. We're not thinking about the streak, none of that. We've got to go out here and win."
Curry's right, they do need to go out there and win, they won't have a better opportunity all year to put an end to a long, frustrating road losing streak than they'll have this Sunday.
Linebacker Curry Comfortable As Starter, Leader
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Scout NFL Network08/24/2016