Lions Defender Wants ‘Gritty, Nasty’ Identity for Team’s New Defense

Charles Harris

Getty Charles Harris celebrates a big play with Austin Bryant in 2021.

The Detroit Lions have a bubble that is evolving by the day, but one player who could be working his way off is edge rusher Austin Bryant.

Bryant has impressed in a big way, and is chasing down a role with the team’s defense in 2022. Last season, Bryant helped set the tone in a big way with his pass rush prowess, and he is off to the same start this season.

That work is by design for Bryant and his Lions teammates on the defensive side of the ball. Bryant could fit the team well because of what he offers the Lions in terms of leadership for a young defense.

Speaking with the media after practice on Thursday, August 18, Bryant explained the goals of his defense this season. As he said, grit is still the biggest idea for the team.

Jamaal Williams, Aidan Hutchinson, and Austin Bryant meet the media after Lions Colts joint practiceWatch Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams, defensive linemen Austin Bryant, and defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson with Colts defensive linemen Kwity Paye speak to the media on August 18, 2022 at Detroit Lions Training Camp presented by Rocket Mortgage. 00:00 – 4:48: RB Jamaal Willams 4:49 – 11:11: DL Aidan Hutchinson & Colts DL Kwity…2022-08-18T22:41:24Z

“I think y’all hear Dan (Campbell) say all the time, we’re a gritty group. We got a bunch of guys that love to compete that don’t mind doing the dirty work and I think we showed that this week and throughout this entire camp,” he said. “That’s something we’re definitely gonna hang our hat on going into the season, because that’s what we want to be known as. We want our identity to be known as a gritty, nasty team that wants to play as long as the other team wants to play.”

It’s been common this offseason to hear that description for the Lions and their defense. For a mindset to take hold, the entire team has to be talking about it. So far, it sounds as if that is the case.

The Lions are going to be a tough team on defense this coming season, and it seems that’s been the goal all along.

Bryant Offers Clues to Personal Comfort

Why has Bryant been able to look so impressive in camp? As he said, the fact that he was finally able to achieve some long-awaited health played a big role in what he did in 2021, as well as his solid start to 2022.

Additionally, Bryant believes the fact that the team offers him a comfortable scheme is a big advantage at this point in time.

“I think it’s just come with experience, I’m going into my fourth year. Y’all know my story, I’ve dealt with injuries. I finally got a good two offseasons of being healthy,” Bryant admitted. “Finally in a scheme where I feel fits the way I like to play, in a culture where we get to work hard, have fun and be ourselves. I think it’s just been the fruits of that process.”

Specifically, Bryant admitted that he is most appreciative of his teammates, who help bring it all together.

“Like I said, I’m grateful for my teammates because man, all of us together is what makes everybody go so I’m just grateful for this year, grateful to be in this position and hopefully we give the city something to be proud about,” he said.

Certainly, that’s a hope for the Lions whole team heading toward the rapidly-approaching 2022 season.

Dan Campbell Praised Bryant’s Camp Work

Bryant has been called a part of the Lions’ roster bubble at times this offseason, but it’s looking like he is taking steps forward to earn his keep.

If you believe Dan Campbell, Bryant may have already locked down a spot. Speaking before practice on Friday, August 5, Campbell shared his excitement for Bryant given how he plays and how he has shown up in camp.

“He’s always been all-out, all the time. That’s what I appreciate about him. That was one of the first things I noticed about him, Aaron Glenn and myself, when I was watching film when I took this job. I’m like ‘who is this guy? He goes in the game and goes all out.’ You’re talking about a defense, that’s got to be the starting point. Just high effort. They lay it on the line so he’s always been that way.”

The defensive mentality Bryant talks about is something he seems to embody perfectly according to his coach.

Does this move Bryant off any potential bubble? With his play, it’s possible. He seems to fit the Lions and their defensive goals very well ahead of a new season.

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