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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Debate: Should Lions retain Cherilus or Houston?



Cherilus will be one of the top right tackles
on the market this off-season.
      Pro Football Focus writers Gordon McGuinness and Pete Damilatis debated a hot topic around Detroit, pondering whether Gosder Cherilus or Chris Houston were more important to retain. According to PFF, Cherilus and Houston are the Lions highest graded free agents on their respective sides of the ball.

      According to their stats, Cherilus graded out with an overall grade of +3.2. In 2012, Cherilus had 38 total pressures allowed on 787 pass blocking snaps giving him a Pass Blocking Proficiency rating of 96.3, placing him 10th among all offensive tackles, and second-best among right tackles. Of the 38 total pressures, he allowed his quarterback to be knocked down, hit or sacked, just 11 times working out at once every 71.5 drop-backs.

     Damilatis argues that the Lions surplus of tackles, Jeff Backus, Reilly Reiff, Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard have the ability to cover the two tackles. Cherilus' career -3.2 run blocking grade, 9 penalties last season, and the ability that Reiff allows the Lions to go in a different direction. Reiff brought in a +6.4 run blocking grade, according to PFF, in his limited snaps (27.3 percent of the Lions offensive snaps). 

     Houston, on the other hand, is in a depleted secondary that features Jacob Lacey, Drayton Florence, Bill Bentley and Jonte Green who were ineffective and oft-injured. Houston garnered a +5.2 grade in 2011 and a +7.4 grade in 2012. He was the only Lions corner to play over 60 percent of the snaps at corner, targeted once every 5.8 coverage snaps in 2012, and allowed only 11.9 yards per catch with a 78.7 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks.
Houston and Detroit will have tough
decisions this off-season.
     The Lions have many decisions to make on their 23 unrestricted free agents, beginning with Houston and Cherilus. Mayhew stated that the Lions have cut their list down to 9 out of the 23 that they will target, their minds may already be set.

      Now it's our turn, as Lion fans, to guess their fate. Who should the Lions target as their top priority, Houston or Cherilus?

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