Will Delmas' partner at S please stand up?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Culpepper vs. Stafford? Nah. We all know how that one ends, eventually.

What's shaping up to be the biggest competition of training camp is who will start at safety opposite rookie Louis Delmas (who's already looking great and cemented his position).

Tom Kowalski at MLive.com reports that while there's no official depth chart yet, Kalvin Pearson has been playing with the first unit opposite Delmas. Daniel Bullocks, who started 15 games last year, has gotten time with the second and third units, Killer writes -- but that could be just because he was limited in practice due to injuries earlier in the year.

Then there's newcomer Marquand Manuel, who started 14 games with the Denver Broncos last year.

Writes Killer:

Pearson averaged 10 tackles per game in his first four games of full-time duty but then his play started to drop off. Before a season-ending 10-tackle game against the Green Bay Packers, Pearson was averaging just five tackles for the previous seven games.

Pearson is 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds, and his lack of size might have been a contributing factor, but Pearson doesn't buy it. Neither does Schwartz.

"If you said size was an issue last year for (Tennessee cornerback) Cortland Finnegan, he's 5-9 and maybe 185 pounds, but he's incredibly durable," Schwartz said. "I don't want to put (Pearson) into a box, so to speak, and say he can't hold up for the season. I want to keep an open mind and give him an opportunity."

Pearson puts his production drop on his playing every special teams down while starting.

And the winner is ... Anthony Henry? A lot of folks speculate Henry's future is at safety. But I'm starting to think that might not happen, for the simple reason that CB doesn't look like a position of depth or strength. If a third CB can emerge allowing Henry to be shifted, the Lions abysmal secondary will get slightly deeper and a little more talented.

Talk about it in The Den!