Detroit Lions: Miles Killebrew excited for expanded role with Tavon Wilson out

Second-year safety also will serve as a captain

ALLEN PARK — With Tavon Wilson out with a shoulder injury, safety Miles Killebrew is expected to get his first NFL start when the Lions host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

It’s kind of a big deal.

To add to it, Killebrew was named special teams captain for the game.

“When (Jim Caldwell) said my name I was actually kind of surprised, I’m not going to let it distract me, it’s an exciting honor, can’t wait to get out there,’’ Killebrew said on Friday.

The second-year safety is off to a great start this season. In the opening game he intercepted Arizona’s Carson Palmer and returned the ball 35 yards for a touchdown.

Usually Killebrew is used in certain defensive packages — he’s been compared to a Swiss Army knife. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin loves to have him on the field.

“Miles I think is just scratching the surface of being a really good football player no matter where you put him, so I don’t worry about that,’’ Austin said. “We just know we like to have him on the field and we’ll continue to use him the way we’ve used him.”

Killebrew is ready for whatever role he’ll have on Sunday.

“As far as being versatile that’s something I’ve always want to be. I’ve always wanted to be someone who can attack the game from all angles and be available for how the coaches need me,’’ Killebrew said.

He hasn’t changed up his preparation this week. It consists of the basics — practice and film work.

“My confidence is rooted in my preparation. I’m very prepared, the coaches prepare us very well here and I take a lot of preparation measures on my own,’’ Killebrew said. “As long as I’m  prepared I’m not worried about it.’’

He speaks the company line completely. It’s not fake, it seems very genuine. The whole team realizes the Atlanta Falcons are one of the best teams in the NFC but the only reason it’s a big game is because it’s the next game.

“After a win you are inclined to change up your approach but I’d have to say we’re taking it one game at a time,’’ Killebrew said. “This is another game that we’re going to have to perform at our best ability.”

Other captains for the game are Golden Tate for offense and Tahir Whitehead on defense.

Wilson, linebacker Jarrad Davis and running back Dwayne Washington have been declared out for Sunday.


Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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