Not only were the Lions down rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah to a hamstring injury, they had lost Justin Coleman in the first half. Then, during the late stages of the game, they lost veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant to the same ailment as Okudah. It was only after Trufant exited that Mitch Trubisky turned up the heat against a Lions secondary full of mostly backups, and another unfortunate turn which set about a historic collapse.
Without Trufant, Trubisky was able to confidently fire 3 touchdown passes as well as pile up the yards against the Lions. Before he exited, Trubisky looked more like the average quarterback who barely held onto his job this offseason.
Trubisky before the Trufant injury: 11 for 25, 150 yards, 0 TDs
Trubisky after the Trufant injury: 9 for 11, 92 yards, 3 TDs https://t.co/g5OhbSZgbG
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) September 14, 2020
Certainly, this stat isn’t to excuse the Detroit offense and their lack of closing, but it could explain why the Lions’ defense looked so scattered late. Amani Oruwariye was the team’s only home grown talent on the field in the moment, and they were relying on veterans Tony McRae and Darryl Roberts likely more than they ever expected to be in Week 1.
Good depth is important, but it’s likely not even the Lions could have planned for the mass exodus they experienced Week 1 in their secondary. The health of all these players will be something to watch this week in what could be another stiff challenge for Detroit’s defense.
Desmond Trufant Facing Pressure in 2020
Recently, Pro Football Focus took a look at identifying players who are entering prove-it years on the field. Only one member of the Lions made the list, and it was Trufant, the cornerback who will be starting over when he hits Detroit this fall.
According to writer Sam Monson, Trufant is facing a huge challenge this season as it relates to stepping up and proving he can be a cornerback who does a bit of everything for a team that needs him in a significant way on the field.
“At the start of his career, Desmond Trufant looked like the next great cornerback in the NFL, but injuries and decline in play have ended that talk. The former 2013 first-round pick now heads to Detroit hoping to prove he can step into the role vacated by Darius Slay and at least not be a downgrade for the Lions. Over the first two seasons of his career, Trufant earned a PFF grade over 80.0 both years but hasn’t surpassed that mark since. Over his past two healthy seasons, Trufant notched 24 pass breakups but was also beaten for a passer rating of over 100.0 and saw more than 60% of the passes thrown his way go for completions. Trufant still has the ability to be a No. 1 corner, but he now finds himself under pressure to prove it.”
The Lions certainly need Trufant to play a huge role for the team given their defensive backfield needs some big changes after a tough 2019 season. If he’s healthy, Trufant can certainly play a role for the team and perhaps be the elite cornerback the Lions need him to be on the field.
After Week 1, Trufant looked very good and could be ready to have a solid ‘prove it’ season with the Lions.
Desmond Trufant Stats
The former Washington Huskies cornerback is 29 years old and certainly has made his mark in the league from a statistical standpoint. Trufant was a Pro Bowler in 2015, and has put up 329 total tackles and 13 interceptions in his career. Trufant also has put up 79 pass deflections in his career.
Trufant will come to Detroit with some major upside as it relates to being a key player in the defensive turnaround. Obviously, he will have to step up and play a huge role for a defense that will need him right away.
Sunday, he did that, evidence by the fact of how much the team seemed to struggle when he went down with injury.