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Why CB Justin Coleman Must Have a Rebound Season in 2020

Lions nickel cornerback can aid secondary with a rebound season

When Lions general manager Bob Quinn looked to bolster his secondary during the 2019 offseason, cornerback Justin Coleman was a name that rose to the top of the list.

Coleman, the former Patriots and Seahawks defensive back, had an impressive beginning to his career and was an intriguing free-agent target at the time.

Coleman proceeded to ink a four-year, $36 million contract with Detroit -- one of the richest contracts for a slot corner in the game today.

Coleman had a solid first year for the Lions but did not live up to his expensive contract.

In 2019, Coleman played in all 16 games and recorded 54 total tackles, three forced fumbles, and one interception. He was fairly productive, but still not what Detroit was looking for.

In his defense, he did have to play out of position at times as a result of ex-Lions corner Darius Slay missing time due to injury. It forced Coleman to have to slide into Slay's role as a cover corner -- not a strong suit of Coleman's and it showed.       

With the departure of Slay, the pressure falls even more on Coleman to perform at a high level. 

He is now joined in the cornerback's room by veteran Desmond Trufant, who signed with Detroit this offseason, and 2020 first-round pick Jeff Okudah.

Even with just one year in the Motor City under his belt, Coleman holds experience and familiarity with Lions head coach Matt Patricia's defense.

If the Lions are to be successful in 2020, the secondary has to undoubtedly be better than what it was a season ago. And I believe that starts with Coleman improving upon his play.

Coleman, who primarily guards the slot receiver of opposing teams, is looking to make a huge difference this upcoming season.

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The amount of snaps that Coleman will get remains to be seen, however. 

He saw nearly 85 percent of defensive snaps for the Lions in 2019, but with the new acquisitions in the secondary, those numbers may fall.

If Coleman is to maintain his large role in the Lions' defense in 2020, he must take another step forward. 

For him to be worth all the money he's being paid, Coleman has to have an even more productive campaign than a year ago. 


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