ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Among the Detroit Lions
' points of emphasis coming into training camp were to create more mayhem on defense and to diversify the offense enough to take some heat off receiver Calvin Johnson
If the exhibition opener against the New York Jets
Friday can be trusted as evidence, they are on the right track on both fronts.
Just four plays into their first defensive series, defensive end Willie Young pressured quarterback Mark Sanchez
and forced a panicked throw that was picked off by rookie defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who took it back 14 yards for a touchdown.
Just like that, the Lions had one more defensive touchdown than they produced all of last season.
"We've always wanted to be a defense that's disruptive and one that gets the ball back for our offense," Ndamukong Suh
said. "It's great when you get turnovers, let alone three-and-outs, and get the ball to our offense. Ziggy made a great play. Glover (Quin) almost got another one. That's how we want to be aggressive and make plays."
Quin stepped in front of a Sanchez pass in the next series, but lost it when he was blasted by tight end Kellen Winslow
In the third quarter, another rookie defensive end forced a turnover. Devin Taylor
bull-rushed the tackle and reached around the back of reserve quarterback Greg McElroy, sacked him and stripped the ball.
"That's something we've talked about since the beginning of the offseason," coach Jim Schwartz said. "We knew we had to protect the ball better but more than anything we needed to create some turnovers. We got one on the first series, Devin made a nice play and we had a couple more opportunities where we could have made plays."
The Lions got 10 points off those two turnovers.
The first team offense was a bit erratic in three series, producing just three points. But it didn't take long to see the impact running back Reggie Bush
will make. On his first carry, he hurdled defensive back Kyle Wilson and picked up six yards and a first down.
But the play that had the coaches and quarterback Matthew Stafford smiling after was a 28-yard hook-up with Calvin Johnson. On that play, Bush's presence in the flat put corner back Antonio Cromartie in a no-win situation, having to pick his poison between staying with Johnson or picking up Bush.
"Yeah, I told Reggie, 'Nobody ever drops Calvin for anybody,' " Stafford said. "It was awesome to have a corner drop Calvin to play Reggie. That's the offense we envisioned."
--Team correspondents for The Sports Xchange contributed material for this story.
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