Royal Oak Tribune
Undlin: Griffen and Hand to be key while Flowers is out
The Lions stood pat at the NFL trade deadline Tuesday.
But, hey, no problem, as the Lions would tell you, because they acquired defensive end Everson Griffen from the Dallas Cowboys last week.
His role has now become even bigger with the 3- 4 Lions, with fellow defensive end Trey Flowers having been placed on injured reserve and having to miss at least the next three weeks because of it.
Detroit defensive coordinator Cory Undlin talked during his weekly media session Tuesday about how it’s going to take a little bit of time to determine the best role for Griffen.
“We’ve got to get him on the field first, get him in the meeting room and then get the game plan in. And then, I think we’ll get a feel for the best spot for him,” Undlin commented.
“And then, obviously with Trey, unfortunately, we’ll look at a few different scenarios there for each package. So, we feel good. We’ll make it work. Obviously, blessed to have him (Griffen) here now.”
Undlin believes Da’Shawn
Hand could also pinch hit as a pass-rusher in the place of Flowers.
“He’s been rushing the passer the last three or four weeks. Maybe, you haven’t seen him out there as much. But, D-Hand’s been a part of the program since we kicked this thing off at the start,” Undlin explained.
“So, obviously, when you lose a guy like Trey, everyone’s got to step up.
“And knowing that we’ve got ‘Ev’ (Griffen) coming in here, he’s going to help with that. But, everyone else is going to have to step up, as well.”
Through seven games this season, Hand, the Lions’ fourth-round pick in 2018, has logged 15 total tackles, including one for loss, and a forced fumble.
His best two games of the year have come the last two weeks.
He recorded four total tackles and the aforementioned forced fumble in Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons, and followed it up with another four-tackle performance, which included the aforementioned tackle for loss, in Week 8 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Undlin is seeking improvements from Hand and the rest of Detroit’s defense moving forward this season.
“We’ve all got things to improve on, starting with myself. Da’Shawn would probably say the same thing,” Undlin said.
Players on the defensive line, like Hand, need to step up if the Lions want to have any chance at generating a pass rush without Flowers.
And Detroit’s first crack at proving it can do so in the absence of the veteran defensive end comes Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.