Michael Brockers has become somewhat of a forgotten man given his absence during training camp, but as the Detroit Lions’ season comes into better focus, the defensive lineman is coming back into consciousness as he prepares.
Brockers has been limited thanks to rest and load management by the team, and while he isn’t sidelined with a serious injury, he also hasn’t gotten consistent run in camp or the preseason leading to questions about whether or not he will be ready to go for the season opener.
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Speaking with the media on Monday, August 30, Brockers was asked where he’s at, and as he said, he doesn’t feel ready to play now, but perhaps in due time with the work he is getting in practice.
“That’s what these weeks are for, these practices are for, for me to get back in the groove, get my technique a lot better and be ready for game one,” Brockers told the media.
While a veteran presence like Brockers could certainly rest on his laurels given his status in the league, he still understands the importance of learning and honing his craft on the field, which is why his absence has been tough to stomach to this point, even as he knows he will be alright with the work he will do.
“A lot of people are telling me, ‘you’re 10 years (in), you’re good.’ For me, it’s all about getting out there, going through those reps even though you mess up or have a good rep. Going over those things and actually feeling those things out has always been a big deal for me,” Brockers said. “I didn’t want to miss training camp, it was unfortunate, but for me, taking these practices and putting everything into them in terms of teaching, learning my technique and stuff like that, and just (being) ready for game one.”
The hope is Brockers will get the point where he feels completely ready, and the good news is the Lions have a pair of weeks with which to work to do it. It sounds as if all systems should be go for Week 1 if Brockers can get to that point.
Michael Brockers Encouraged With Young Lions’ Defensive Linemen
A silver lining has come out of Brockers’ extended absence during camp and the preseason in the form of a great deal of development for some rookies. That is something that the lineman himself is very aware of and thinks is a good thing as the Lions push toward a new season on the field.
Brockers was specifically asked by the media about rookie Alim McNeill and Levi Onwuzurike, a few of his playing partners up front. As he said, he has liked what he has seen not only in their talents, but their ability to listen and learn as well and apply the lessons in real-time.
“Those two guys are coming along. Alim (McNeill), he was a guy who right off the bat was working with the ones, That gives you a lot to tell you about his talent and where he is. Same thing for Levi (Onwuzurike), he is coming along as well. He’s getting over some minor or little things, but for the most part, a guy who is coming along really well, taking the coaching and rolling with it. So that’s all you can expect from young guys, as long and they are coachable and they take the coaching and listen, it’s a good thing.”
McNeill and Onwuzurike have each taken turns making waves during camp at different times. That’s good news, because as Brockers said, he believes having such depth will not only help him personally, but the team as well in terms of building something consistent and stable for 2021.
“It makes me comfortable to feel like once you leave the game, you have someone behind you that can pick up the slack for you and won’t have any let ups or anything like that. Having the depth we have and having the players with the talent we have is a good thing for us,” Brockers admitted.
If the young players can spell Brockers effectively from the start, it could allow him to stay fresh this season keeping him even more dangerous. The Lions have to hope that exact situation plays out for their needy defensive line in 2021.
Lions Right Playing It Safe With Brockers’ Health
Detroit’s new-look defensive line has needed a presence like Brockers for a long time, so getting him fully healthy back into the mix is huge. There is no reason to risk injury or put additional wear and tear on a player like Brockers who is an established professional. This offseason, the Lions have held back on plenty of players with different ailments including T.J. Hockenson, D’Andre Swift, Levi Onwuzurike and Derrick Barnes. In the case of Onwuzurike and Barnes, their patience already looks to have paid off in a major way considering how strong those players have looked after being eased back into action when the team believed they were ready.
Given the trust Brockers seems to have built already with his new staff, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he agrees with the way the Lions and Campbell are handling things thus far.
Once Brockers gets himself ready, he could be a big part of a new-look line that surprises folks in 2021.