ALLEN PARK — Matthew Stafford laughed when he was asked when he realized that safety Glover Quin and cornerback Darius Slay were really good.
Stafford practices against them all the time.
“I know those guys are really good, and they do kind of in a different way. Glover is extremely cerebral back there. He trusts his instincts. He’s obviously a great tackler. Plays the ball really well in the air,’’ Stafford said. “Slay is quick and fast and aggressive and competitive as any corner we play. So, I think it’s great work for our guys and myself to work against those guys in practice and competitive situations.”
The Lions defense has performed well most of the season. The Lions are 4-4 heading into Sunday’s game at Ford Field against the Cleveland Browns (0-8).
The Browns’ offense ranks 31st in the NFL, scoring just 14.9 points per game. It’s a real opportunity for the defense to take advantage. The three Brown’s quarterbacks have combined for 17 interceptions.
Quin and Slay would like to add to that total this week and keep going with eyes on a trip to the Pro Bowl.
They each have three interceptions so far and Quin returned one for a touchdown.
Coach Jim Caldwell said we haven’t seen the best of Slay.
“I mean, he just keeps getting better and better all the time. He’s got an extraordinary level of competitiveness. He loves the game. I don’t think he’s ever had a bad day. He’s always looking for the next challenge. He’s a high, high, energy guy. And not only that, he’s blessed with an immeasurable amount of talent as well,’’ Caldwell said. “He can run, he’s got courage, he’s not afraid to take a chance. All of those things I think play into what he’s able to do out there on the field. Like I said, you still haven’t seen the best of him.”
All you need to know about Quin happened in the second quarter on Monday night with the Packers going for it on fourth-and-2 from the 50-yard line.
Brett Hundley was in the shotgun and Quin was in the backfield nearly the moment the ball was snapped.
“Absolutely, it’s one of those ‘oh no, yes’ that’s what the play was. He’s a guy that works and studies, he knows tendencies and when things show up they don’t fluster him and he’s able to make a play most of the time,’’ Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “Those guys, as you know, nobody’s right all the time but he’s going to be right a lot more often than he’s wrong. I think it speaks to how he prepares, there’s a lot of guys on the defense that prepare but he’s kind of a cut above that way.’’
Quin didn’t have a good explanation for not only making the play, but reading it before the ball snapped. It’s a jet sweep that he’s seen often sometimes with the quarterback under center and occasionally from the shotgun like Hundley ran it.
“They ran it, I saw it and just kind of tried to make a play,’’ Quin said. “When you’ve played a lot of games, you’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve been blessed to play in a lot of games and play a bunch of plays and I’ve got a keen memory of plays that has happened not only to me but to our team, to other teams. I have a real keen memory about certain plays if you’ve been in that situation a lot of different times sometimes you do things that are hard to explain. I don’t have a great explanation. Sometimes during the course of a football game you just have to play football.’’