The Detroit Lions finished the 2018 NFL season with 14 takeaways, second-worst in the league. In the offseason, the defense has worked on its technique and fundamentals to help improve that area.
“We’ve got to work on it every day, no matter what,” said safety Quandre Diggs, who tied Darius Slay with a team-high three interceptions last year. “We work on tackling and turnovers every day.
“So it’s our job to go out there and make it happen. I don’t think we did a good enough job last year, but now we’re living in the present.”
Diggs had a nice interception against Matthew Stafford on the final day of minicamp. When training camp rolls around next month, things will be a little different when the pads come and the hitting begins. But even then, Diggs said technique and drill work are the keys to increasing takeaways.
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“Just work on the drills that the coaches give you,” he said. “So we try to take advantage of the time we got right now.
“But we know in training camp the pads come and we’ll be a little bit more able to thud things like that. You just work on what coaches give us and we just try to better ourselves each day.”
Diggs has had three picks each of the past two seasons. But he said past success doesn’t bolster his confidence.
“Confidence doesn’t carry over,” he said. “You can always have confidence, but that won’t carry over this year. I’m starting fresh. Zero picks. So I’ve just got to go make it happen.”
Cornerback Amani Oruwariye, a fifth-round pick from Penn State, said the defensive backs are leaning on each other to improve their takeaway skills.
“We just challenge each other every day to come out and attack the ball,” he said, “work on balls skills in individual (practice periods) and just home in on our technique every day, correct ourselves on film and then come up and, like I said, just attack the ball.”
Oruwariye showed a keen sense for the ball with the Nittany Lions. In his final two seasons, he had seven interceptions. But he didn’t attribute his success to any innate ability.
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“I don’t think there’s any secret recipe, ” he said. “I just think it just comes from hard work. I think it comes from just testing yourself in practice so then it can translate into the games.
“And I think it just comes from studying film, learning how you can be in a better leverage and better position to make a play on the ball. So all the little things like that.”
Oruwariye doesn’t expect camp to affect how the defense goes about creating turnovers.
“I don’t think it changes at all,” he said. “We will compete the same way, we’re still going to attack the ball the same way. We’ll just be able to protect ourselves a little bit more, so we can be a little more physical. But other than that, it’s the same mindset, the same approach to it.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.
Published at Fri, 07 Jun 2019 20:51:36 +0000