Lions’ Young Defender Given Shout for ‘Constant Presence’ vs. Giants

Alim McNeill

Getty Alim McNeill swallows Daniel Jones for a sack in 2022.

The Detroit Lions won in Week 11 on defense, which is not something that has been able to be said much of the 2022 season.

Detroit’s defense has struggled for the most part this season, but in defensive lineman Alim McNeill, the team has a player that has stepped up and gotten the job done from a toughness standpoint.

McNeill is always the center of attention for the Lions up front, but he was even more so last week, as the Lions dominated the New York Giants 31-18. A big reason they were able to do that

As a result of McNeill’s big day shutting down Saquon Barkley and the New York ground attack, McNeill got some love from Pro Football Focus. He was named the Defensive Player of the Week by the site, and the writeup explained that his ability to be a menace up front was a big reason why.

“McNeil was a constant presence in the Giants backfield in Week 11. He recorded 10 total pressures — the most by an interior defender in a single game this season — and a 31.0% pass-rush win rate en route to a 90.7 pass-rush grade,” the site wrote in its recap.

Naturally, this is a big effort from McNeill and for the Lions, who needed his motivated presence on the day to slow down a tough team in the trenches. The more McNeill can step up for the Detroit defense down the stretch, the better off they’ll be.

This could be a big step forward for McNeill, who is already looking like he is primed to become one of the best new young players up front in the league. This designation only prove it more.

Dan Campbell Praised McNeill’ Major Day

After the game, Dan Campbell seemed pleased with what McNeill was able to do for the team’s run defense. While many saw the big game from McNeill and praised him for it, Campbell pointed out he’s been there all year long.

Speaking after the game, Campbell admitted that McNeill has played a big role for the Lions all year, so he was happy to see the team pay it off in a big win on the field in which he performed in a dramatic way.

“Big Mac, man. There’s so many things that Mac does that I don’t think goes noticed. It can go unnoticed at times. He and (Isaiah) Buggs, they do a ton of dirty work in there. They have consistently just banged away in there. They’ve helped our run defense. It’s hard to run in there with those two guys. He’s one of the biggest reasons,” Campbell said. “For him to be able to make the TFL’s today and affect the quarterback like he did, that was great to see, because we know what Mac’s capable of. He did it in a different way today. He helped us win in a different way. That was good to see.”

Obviously, Campbell liked what he saw from McNeill, and understands that McNeill is a player who makes the right moves on the field consistently.

McNeill Enjoying Solid 2022 Season

While this game may represent a turning point for McNeill in terms of his overall effectiveness in 2022, he’s already been playing a very solid season.

Thus far this year, McNeill has put up a solid 17 tackles and one sack to go with five tackles for-loss and five quarterback hits. McNeill is on track to finish 2022 even better than 2021, considering he put up 39 tackles and two sacks last season.

After the game, McNeill talked about a personal pep talk he gave himself where he committed to stepping up and making sure he could do whatever he can to help his team be more effective and impact the game more. It’s clear that whatever he said resonated in a big way.

The more big games McNeill has, the more likely he will be to get on such radars this season. That will be huge for him moving forward, and the hope is this PFF honor can get him going the rest of the way.

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