The Detroit Lions are set to square off against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in a Week 1 matchup.
There is a new defensive coordinator (Aaron Glenn), a new defensive scheme (3-4 base) and plenty of new faces.
Many questions will be answered in the coming days, regarding how the coaching staff plans to utilize the roster.
Now, inactives, injuries and practice squad call-ups will undoubtedly throw a wrench in playing time projections, but here is our prediction, as to how frequently each defensive player will be on the field in the first week of the regular season.
1.) Michael Brockers – 75%
2.) Levi Onwuzurike - 60%
3.) Nick Williams – 55%
4.) Alim McNeill – 40%
5.) John Penisini – 15%
6.) Kevin Strong – 15%
Brockers, Onwuzurike and Williams are questionable on the injury report, and all were limited participants in practice. If any were to miss the game, it would create quite the ripple effect for playing time. Even if everyone is healthy, there is a good possibility one could be a healthy scratch.
1.) Trey Flowers – 70%
2.) Romeo Okwara – 65%
3.) Julian Okwara – 35%
4.) Austin Bryant – 15%
5.) Charles Harris – 0%
The top two options should see the field plenty. After that, the order of the remaining three is still a bit of a mystery. Julian Okwara would seem to be the best pass-rushing specialist, but Bryant showed some potential in the preseason. Can’t count out Harris, either, though. In all likelihood, the Lions will only roll with four active EDGE defenders.
1.) Alex Anzalone – 80%
2.) Jamie Collins Sr. – 70%
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3.) Derrick Barnes – 20%
4.) Jalen Reeves-Maybin – 5%
5.) Anthony Pittman – 0%
The Lions' defensive scheme only has two off-ball linebackers in its base defense. The NFL is moving more toward the nickel package, but the 49ers use plenty of heavy sets. So, it’s likely the Lions will have more linebackers on the field than most weeks. No matter the case, though, it still appears that Anzalone and Collins will see plenty of reps.
1.) Jeff Okudah – 98%
2.) Amani Oruwariye – 92%
3.) A.J. Parker – 50%
4.) Ifeatu Melifonwu – 10%
5.) Bobby Price – 0%
6.) Jerry Jacobs – 0%
The starting outside corners are locked in. In the slot, Parker is battling an injury, and is questionable to play. Veteran Nickell Robey-Coleman is on the practice squad, and could get promoted to the gameday roster, if necessary. Barring injury, the reserves aren’t likely to see the field all that much, due to the 49ers rarely using more than three-receiver looks.
1.) Tracy Walker – 95%
2.) Will Harris – 85%
3.) Dean Marlowe – 20%
4.) C.J. Moore – 5%
Walker and Harris will be used plenty, while Marlowe will likely see some looks in certain packages, as well. Moore has always been more of a special teams contributor, and that role is likely to continue.
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