The Detroit Lions fixed some holes in free agency, signing receiver Golden Tate and others. They still need to ink a safety to a contract, replacing former safety Louis Delmas. It hasn’t been said yet, but Detroit will sign former Baltimore Ravens’ safety, James Ihedigbo.
Ihedigbo would be a nice new toy in a secondary compiled of faltering ones. At age 30, he’s reaching his prime, coming off of a season with 101 tackles, two forced fumbles, three interceptions, and 11 passes defensed. Teryl Austin, the new defensive coordinator for Detroit, coached Ihedigbo in Baltimore as his secondaries coach. Austin views Ihedigbo as a wonderful leader that’d guide the younger players in Detroit’s secondary.
This signing needs to happen. He’s the pass defender Detroit needs to instill fear into opposing quarterbacks, who’ve pretty much laughed at this secondary for the past few years. Ihedigbo and Glover Quin would go together like peanut butter and jelly. Both are experienced players, good leaders, and have football smarts; Detroit’s secondary would experience an instant bump. The struggling cornerbacks would improve with better safety play. Delmas took too many bad angles, and blew many assignments in the passing game. It’s no wonder some corners like Chris Houston were left out in the dark on numerous occasions.
Rumors claim that the Chicago Bears are inviting Ihedigbo to suit up with them. The Lions have the edge here. Ihedigbo left with a great impression upon meeting with Detroit for the first time. A contract wasn’t written up because he needed an agent. Quin is a better safety than any Chicago possesses. Perhaps the deal breaker is the familiarity with Austin and coach Jim Caldwell, who teamed up with him in Baltimore. Austin did a marvelous job at coaching up Ihedigbo, getting him to produce at an exceptional level. Detroit gives him instant comfort and respect. Austin would lean a good amount on the shoulders of Ihedigbo, confident in his abilities, as he should be. Chicago’s defense is aging, whereas Detroit’s is primed with younger talent, something Ihedigbo would be in charge of guiding. Ultimately, Ihedigbo signs with Detroit.
This signing (once it happens, of course) will be a huge victory for Detroit. Safety is a need at this point; Ihedigbo fits the requirements. He’ll play well, continuing to grow under Austin and his scheming. It’s not only the better play Detroit needs — their defense in particular — but the leadership. Detroit needs sterner voices in the locker room, ones that demand more and command respect. Ihedigbo seems to have a leader’s voice residing in the pit of his throat; he would help to implement Austin’s philosophies, especially since he has prior experience with him.
Ihedigbo will upgrade the secondary the minute his hand imprints a cursive signature on a contract. Quin and the cornerbacks will have a dependable player alongside them, boosting their confidence and play. The Lions would have one less position to worry about. It’s safe to say Ihedigbo lands in Detroit. Detroit has a better safety for him to work with, younger talent he can help groom, and more importantly, a coaching staff he has experience with. Once signed, Detroit’s defense — and locker room — will improve.