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Lions Hold Workout With CFL Sack Leader After ‘Spectacular’ Season

Getty Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell addressed the rumors connecting him to the open Texas A&M head coaching position.

The Detroit Lions are looking north of the border for a chance to bolster their edge rushing corps.

Anthony Miller of SI.com reported that the Lions held a workout with CFL defensive lineman Mathieu Betts, who is coming off an All-Star season with the BC Lions. As Miller noted, the 28-year-old former Notre Dame lineman led the CFL in sacks last season.

“Betts had a spectacular 2023 season, recording a league-high 18 sacks in the regular season and winning the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player award. His playing also earned him an All-Star selection for the first time,” Miller wrote.

The Lions have been hit by injuries and inconsistent play in their defensive line, and could be looking to add some veteran depth.

Lions Looking for Help

Benjamin Raven of MLive.com noted that the Lions have gotten strong production out of second-year edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson and defensive tackle Alim McNeill, who is on injured reserve with a knee injury.

The Lions added a veteran presence with Bruce Irvin, but may need a more consistent presence in the pass rush, Raven wrote.

“Bruce Irvin, 36, has provided a spark in his brief appearances. But an ankle injury has already cost him a trip, making it hard to count on consistent production,” Raven noted. “Josh Paschal has been much better down the stretch, and his inside-outside versatility could come in handy as the Lions try to find the right combinations.”

Raven noted that Betts has been on the NFL radar since being featured in the 2019 East-West Shrine college football showcase. He initially signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent, but missed the final roster cuts and landed in the CFL.

Betts had a strong overall season with the BC Lions, adding four forced fumbles to go along with his 18 sacks in 18 games last season.

The Lions had not immediately signed after Tuesday’s workout, and one insider suggested they could look to another veteran for help. Cory Woodroof of USA Today’s For the Win named the Lions as a potential suitor for Justin Houston after his release from the Carolina Panthers.

Dan Campbell Wants Stronger Presence from Pass Rushers

The Lions struggled with their pass rush at times this season. After a 41-38 win over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10, head coach Dan Campbell said there were improvements needed.

“Yeah, look, I go back to some of this is, we’ve got to really hone in on our technique with where we’re at. We’ve got a lot of things that are schemed up that we can be better at, the execution of it,” Campbell said, via USA Today’s Lions Wire.

Campbell also expressed frustration that the Lions could not generate consistent pressure on quarterback Justin Herbert, which allowed wide receiver Keenan Allen to have a strong receiving day.

“We had a number of different pressures and games that we had lined up in the second down, third down, that we just weren’t getting there fast enough and it was,” Campbell said. “We talk about all the time, the rush into coverage, and it was we’re covering pretty good and then man, we’re just not quite getting there and so (Chargers WR Keenan Allen) 13, we’ve got him doubled, well, he’s able to run through the double because we’re not getting there fast enough.”

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The Detroit Lions held a workout with CFL standout Mathieu Betts, who led the league with 18 sacks last season.