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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Lions: Levy, Delmas a reliable presence

By Kevin Seifert

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- I spent three days with the Detroit Lions in training camp last summer. Never once did I see linebacker DeAndre Levy or safety Louis Delmas, both of whom were rehabilitating injuries and wound up missing a big chunk of the preseason.

So even as the Lions have dealt with a number of high-profile injuries this summer, it's worth nothing that Levy and Delmas have provided a constant and reliable presence. Levy hasn't missed a practice since camp began July 29, and Delmas has missed only three because he needed a screw removed from a finger to complete a prior surgery.

Detroit's Louis Delmas and DeAndre Levy
Louis Delmas (26) and DeAndre Levy (54) have been on the field making plays this training camp. "Our defense is so much better for that," coach Jim Schwartz said.
"Our defense is so much better for that," coach Jim Schwartz said. "Delmas, Levy, those guys that control a lot of the action, have been out there and going. That's so important."

Levy's health has been particularly important because it's given the Lions an opportunity to experiment with their three likely starters in various roles. During my time here, Stephen Tulloch has lined up in the middle with Levy and Justin Durant on the outside, but Schwartz suggested that Tulloch will see some time on the outside during the preseason with Levy kicked back inside.

"We want to let those guys go out and see what they can do," Schwartz said. "They'll probably play different positions in the preseason games. Probably by the third preseason game, we'll sort of settle on what we feel is the best combination for us and best for the defense."

Levy has played every linebacker position in his brief career. It has always been assumed he would settle in the middle, but quite frankly, Tulloch might well prove to be the Lions' best middle linebacker. If that's the case, Levy's multidimensional skills will come in handy.

This conversation would have been moot had Levy not been on the field, but Wednesday he said: "I feel good, and it's going to be nice to go into a season at over 70 percent healthy for a change."

A few thoughts on the Lions' practice Wednesday afternoon, which they conducted in shoulder pads and shorts: