Aidan Hutchinson said he’s ready to “unleash the beast” when he starts his first NFL game as the Lions open the season against Philadelphia on Sunday.
“I think we’ve got a really good opponent, we watched the tape from last year and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I think we’re all excited,’’ Hutchinson after practice on Thursday. The Eagles embarrassed the Lions 44-6 last season.
The defensive end, the second overall pick in the NFL draft, has been impressive every step of the way since work started in the spring.
Hutchinson played in big games at Michigan, so while the NFL spotlight is different, he seems unfazed although excited.
“Typically I think it’s always my philosophy, as big as this game is, it’s really just simple at the end of the day. I really never get too wrapped up in the emotions of it,’’ Hutchinson said. “Obviously I’m passionate and have fun but it’s never out of control. It’s never an issue with me.’’
Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said his advice to Hutchinson is fairly simple.
“Play football. There’s one thing about that player, you don’t have to give him advice about his intensity level, he’s already at the intensity level. You guys have seen him practice, you’ve seen him play, so there’s nothing to be said about that,’’ Glenn said. “You don’t have to over-coach that player on that. That’s just natural for him, so we’re going to let Aidan be Aidan and you’ll see exactly what you’re going to get from him.”
The defensive line will have its hands full with the Eagles’ offense which is led by mobile quarterback Jalen Hurts who had 71 rushing yards against the Lions in last season’s debacle.
Whether on purpose or not, Hutchinson got in a little dig at his teammate, quarterback Jared Goff.
“Obviously we don’t get a whole lot of that (mobility in practice) with Jared,’’ Hutchinson said while laughing. “With Jalen for sure, he’s such a dangerous threat we’re really putting an emphasis on him and stopping the run and have him run as least as we can.’’
Hutchinson said he’s not focused on statistics and never has been.
“If I can turn on the tape after and I know I’m dominating and doing my job. It’s never been about the numbers for me. I think the numbers come,’’ Hutchinson said. “If I can turn on the tape and be happy with myself I think that’s a win in my book.’’