When the Detroit Lions meet the St. Louis Rams on September 9, they will do so with an offseason of turmoil, hopefully, behind them. What won't be pushed to the back burner, however, is the continuous strife of reoccurring injuries that has plagued them this preseason. Against a St. Louis team that is on the cusp of rebuilding itself into a consistent performer, the loss of two key defensive performers may tip the scales slightly away from a Lions victory.
Listed on the Thursday, September 6 injury report, safety Louis Delmas and starting cornerback Chris Houston find themselves without much of a chance to step onto the field in the Week 1 contest. For Detroit, that leaves little in the way of options to quell the improved Rams offense.
For all intents and purposes, the Rams are nearing the point in their rebuilding process that the Lions had reached a season ago. They have installed the basis of a potentially high-powered future offense. In doing so, the potential for an upset against Detroit, especially with the defensive backfield missing two of its key players, seems more of a possibility.
Delmas has been out of action for a month, recovering from a damaged knee. Houston is recovering from an injured ankle. On the bright side, letting the duo rest, especially with an early bye-week, may be in the long-term interest of the team. In the near-term, the detriment of having both men removed from play severely limits the Lions' options.
In their places, it is likely that Houston's stand-in will be the newly-acquired Drayton Florence. A second-round pick in the 2003 draft, Florence has been a solid, consistent, healthy performer. With his skill level, the possibility of stepping toward unseating Houston as Detroit's top corner option comes into the forefront.
In place of Delmas, newly-voted captain John Wendling takes center stage. Though many will quickly shift focus to Amari Spievey, Wendling is due for the spotlight. A hard-working, dedicated player, Wendling has become known for his gritty, gutsy approach to the game. In Delmas' absence, he would be exactly the prescription needed for the Lions' ills.
Detroit has very few defensive options against the Rams this week. Those they do have, however, will need to step into the limelight and prove their mettle.
The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers , Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and Notre Dame football.
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- Louis Delmas