The standout performer for the Detroit Lions on Friday against Jacksonville was linebacker Tahir Whitehead. The funny part about that is that he did not even know that he was going to start at linebacker until just moments before the game. The Lions had to make a decision when Kyle Van Noy starting suffering from an unknown abdominal injury, possibly a sports hernia. Whitehead was ready to go when he was told he was starting, and he showed that on the field.
The Detroit linebackers have been having a lot of fun in Teryl Austin’s new defense. They love playing fast paced, and they are getting more opportunities to get into the backfield. That has been evident all preseason long, and was evident again as Tahir Whitehead was reeking havoc on Chad Henne. The Jaguars could not seem to find an answer for the Lions’ linebacker.
Tahir Whitehead finished the game with 11 combined tackles, 3 sacks, and 4 tackles for loss. Outstanding numbers for a starting linebacker. Even better numbers for a linebacker that was supposed to come off of the bench. Whitehead was bound and determined to make his coaches happy with their decision to start him, and he would be sure that everyone feels a little easier about the rookie Kyle Van Noy’s injury.
Whitehead was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.The front office in Detroit knew they were getting a talented linebacker when they made the selection. Somehow, he slipped through the cracks of the draft, and the Lions were more than happy to take him in the fifth round.
Tahir Whitehead has been a standout performer for the Lions special teams unit, in the past. In 2013, he was able to show great awareness when making tackles, and he was responsible for forcing two fumbles. It seems that Tahir Whitehead is ready to go at the outside linebacker position. If he can provide the same type of awareness and energy boost on defense that he often has on special teams, then the Lions are in good hands.
Detroit may need Tahir to be a long term solution to the Kyle Van Noy injury, and a lot of people are going to feel easier about it after his performance against the Jaguars. Along with Ashlee Palmer, Tahir Whitehead gives Detroit a solid linebacker core.