The Detroit Lions haven’t had the greatest start to the 2021 season, but regardless of that, the team has made it clear that they are in this fight for the long haul this year.
No matter whether it’s the head coach, quarterback or even a rookie defensive lineman, everyone is still pulling the same way for the Lions this season, which has become a big story as the team hasn’t yet found a way to win a game.
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Defensive tackle Alim McNeill explained that the Lions continue to fight no matter what because it remains in their nature to do so and the team isn’t conditioned to back down whatsoever. As he said in an interview posted to DetroitLions.com on Wednesday, October 6, the Lions won’t be giving up no matter the circumstances this season and are going to stick together.
“Honestly, it’s just the fight in us. We’re going to always continue to fight, we’re never just going to back down or get comfortable or numb to it,” McNeill told the media. “This team has a lot of fight and we’re going to continue to fight. Once things start rolling, it’s going to be pretty exciting to see.”
The hope is the Lions can get things rolling in the right way so that everyone can see what the team can become as they push through the frustration. It’s more than possible the team can find a way to be consistent and do some bigger winning given this mindset when things haven’t gone their way.
McNeill Explains His Personal Growth Thus Far
Fighting has been a good metaphor for the rookie lineman to use, seeing as he has been a great example of it thus far in his career. Coming in as an underrated lineman, McNeill has been able to get his feet wet in a big way throughout the first few weeks of the season. Thus far, he’s put up 11 combined tackles on the 2021 season and hasn’t looked overmatched in the league. That’s been a fact that coaches have been very proud of early on for the rookie lineman.
As he explained, McNeill believes his technique has improved greatly as he has taken things one week at a time and refined his approach mentally.
“Just playing with better technique. Getting better week by week, that’s kind of how the rookie process is,” McNeill said. “Just getting better each week. That’s probably what (coach has) seen more of me, better technique. Effort’s always there. Week by week, trying to perfect my technique and get better.”
In terms of where McNeill has improved, he believes he has been able to apply the lessons from his coaches in all facets of his game to get better.
“Really everywhere. Just being able to learn from coach (Todd) Wash, coach (Dam Campbell) himself, coach Aaron Glenn. Really just everywhere I’ve improved in since playing in college and the NFL is a lot different,” he said. “You have to be more sound with everything, but I feel like I have improved in every facet of defensive line technique.”
While it’s been a learning process for McNeill and the Lions, it’s clear the progress has been made, and it’s good to see the young lineman buying in to the whole program.
McNeill’s College Stats and Highlights
Entering his first season in the NFL, McNeill is bringing production with him to the big league. While playing for N.C. State, McNeill collected 77 tackles, 17.5 tackles for-loss, 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 5 passes defended. He also scored 1 touchdown in his career. Obviously, those are the type of numbers that point to a guy who can move around and make a lot of plays along a front, which is just what he will be asked to do with the Lions and their very needy defensive line no matter what role he plays.
Here’s a look at some highlights of McNeill:
The Lions are hoping the athleticism that is shown in these clips shines through to help him become a star at the next level. With his play and his positive mindset showing through, it’s more than possible that can become the case in the end.
So far, that’s been the case for the Lions, who continue to battle in a big way no matter what the circumstances of the season are.