Friday, November 9, 2012

Is Stanford Routt good for the Detroit Lions?

The Kansas City Chiefs recently released their 2012 free agent acquisition corner back Stanford Routt. Routt previously played in Oakland where he was drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft. The Chiefs signed Routt to a three year 18 million dollar contract in order to replace Brandon Carr who went over to the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent.

Routt has struggled this season giving up 491 yards and three touchdowns, but those numbers don't tell the whole story. A good portion of those yards came in two games (which Brady Quinn started over an injured Matt Cassel), significantly skewing the total. Also, the Chiefs' offense has struggled this season owning the worst turnover differential at -20 which consistently puts the defense in difficult situations possibly further skewing Routt's numbers. On top of the turnover numbers, the Chiefs' pass rush is lacking which can be detrimental to pass coverage. Routt would likely benefit from a change in scenery.

Outside of corner Chris Houston who is having a career season, Detroit's defensive backfield has been has been a revolving door. Third round pick Bill Bentley is out for the season with a shoulder injury, Jacob Lacey missed time with a concussion and has struggled in pass coverage, and rookie Chris Greenwood never made it to the field after landing on the PUP list and then IR. Drayton Florence broke his forearm early in the second game of the season and was put on the designated-to-return IR list and will be available in week 11.

The Lions were forced to start rookie Jonte Green opposite of Houston who filled in admirably outside of a pass interference penalty against the Seahawks. Alphonso Smith was brought in for depth after being released during final cuts and also played well in spot duty. Don Carey, who the Lions use at safety and corner, was brought in after Louis Delmas suffered another setback from his knee. The Lions have been very fortunate that these short term solutions have worked in their favor.

Routt has an excellent size-speed combination at 6'1" 195 pounds and having run a 4.27 forty yard dash at his combine in 2005 as well as displaying good skills as a tackler which may offer the Lions some versatility to play him at corner or safety. Ricardo Silva has filled in well for the sidelined Spievey, but lacks the size to be effective in the run game.

Since Routt cleared waivers and has yet to be signed, the Lions may be able to sign Routt for cheap. While he wouldn't be a significant upgrade for the Lions, he would offer a veteran presence in the Lions young backfield. He would also provide a viable option should the Lions be forced to put one of their corners at the safety position. I'd prefer to see the Lions continue to play Green or Lacey to see what they have in the young corners, but if the Lions can snag Routt without having to break the bank he would at least offer an upgrade over Don Carey and at most be a stopgap starter across from Houston.

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