Teryl Austin expects DeAndre Levy will play Sunday

Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy missed practice on Wednesday while nursing a quadriceps injury, but defensive coordinator Teryl Austin expects to see him suit up for the home opener on Sunday.

“I’m planning on having him,” Austin told the Detroit Free Press.

Although the defense as a whole struggled at times, Levy finished last weekend’s 39-35 victory over the Indianapolis Colts with four tackles, one quarterback hit, and a pass breakup. He also played every defensive snap the Lions saw. Negatively, he took an untimely taunting penalty that led to a Colts field goal in the fourth quarter. It was his first regular season action since week one of the 2015 season, when he went down with a hip injury that cost him the rest of the season.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Levy said he felt a bit rusty in his first action after the long lay off, but Austin continues to endorse him. “I just think it’s a matter of reps,” Austin said. “It’s like anything, you’ll get better (at it the more you play).”

Despite the feeling of rust, Pro Football Focus ranked Levy as Detroit’s best defensive player in the season opener.

The team currently has five linebackers on the roster, including Levy, Tahir WhiteheadKyle Van NoyAntwione Williams, and Thurston Armbrister.

With the Tennessee Titans coming to town this weekend for the home opener, the Lions would obviously much rather have Levy in the lineup for an important early season matchup. With running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry in the Titans’ backfield, and quarterback Marcus Mariota‘s ability to stay mobile, the Lions linebackers will likely have a busy day on Sunday. If Levy is unable to go on Sunday for any reason, Williams would likely get the start in his place.

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