Detroit Lions linebacker Josh Bynes may be one of the most unheralded players on the entire roster. Oftentimes the forgotten man, the 6-foot-1, 235-pound backer can do it all– as he has demonstrated the past couple years.
With a slew of new faces and DeAndre Levy returning from injury, his role on the team remains somewhat undefined. Bynes lined up mostly at MIKE last season but is very capable of performing well outside. When recently asked about what position he saw himself playing, he responded candidly.
“I leave that up to TA (DC Teryl Austin) and Coach Caldwell. I play whatever position they need me to play – whatever position shows my ability better than any other. I want to be productive, and be a good player.”Featured Videos
The versatile Auburn product has been very productive since coming to Detroit. Just two seasons removed from being cut and placed on the Baltimore Ravens practice squad, Bynes contributed 11 starts, 82 tackles, five pass breakups, one forced fumble and a half sack for the Lions last year. Not too shabby for a player who was plucked from Teryl Austin’s old team mid-season in 2014.
The 2011 undrafted free agent was on the Ravens 53-man roster for two years (2012-2013) before they revealed he would not make the final roster in 2014. He remembers clearly what it felt like after he learned the demoralizing news.
“It was a heart-breaking moment,” Bynes said. “I had a good camp in 2014. Honestly, I was blind-sided. Pretty much as a player, you know where you are on a team. I started games, played in games, was in a Super Bowl – and was put back on the practice squad.”
“They needed a cornerback. It was tough. It was one of the hardest moments of life.”
With the upcoming season having it’s uncertainties and loaded with fresh blood, Bynes knows to never take his roster spot for granted.
“I never feel like I’ve made it – never,” Bynes said. “When you feel like you’ve made it, that’s when you’re out of here. I tell guys all the time, the league is done with you before you’re done with it.”
Fortunately for Bynes, it would appear that the SAM backer spot is his to lose at this point. You can often find him paired on the same linebacker unit as fellow starters Tahir Whitehead and DeAndre Levy so far in OTAs. It is important to note that the coaches are going to give former second round pick, Kyle Van Noy, and opportunity to impress as well. They sprinkled him in with the first-team on Thursday’s practice.
New acquisitions Jon Bostic, Zaviar Gooden, and 5th-round rookie Antwione Williams will join Van Noy in the battle for that third linebacker spot. Although all of the aforementioned candidates were higher draft choices and may be better athletically, Bynes has a leg up on the competition as he is a more complete player.
His coverage prowess makes him a three-down backer and when it is all said and done, it really doesn’t matter where Bynes is playing because he will succeed no matter his position.