Lions: No "Discount Double Check" for Tulloch
The Lions will forever think twice about celebrating a sack after what happened last week. Starting middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch tore his ACL mocking Aaron Rodgers’ signature celebration and is officially out for the season. It’s an enormous loss for a Lions defense already dealing with a plethora of injuries.
Tulloch has been the model of consistency over his career, having never missed a game due to injury in over eight seasons. His biggest on-field strength was his ability to stop the run, shown by his 17.6% Run Stop Percentage, second among inside linebackers this season. More importantly, he was the veteran leader on a young Lions’ defense, relaying the playcalls and quarterbacking the defense.
While DeAndre Levy moved over to middle linebacker from his usual weak side linebacker last week to replace Tulloch, that might not be the case again this week as the Lions have listed Tahir Whitehead as their starting MLB on their depth chart. Whitehead, a fifth-round pick in 2012, has never started a game in his career. In fact, he has only ever played middle linebacker for 16 snaps, all in the 2014 preseason. However, he managed to amass a +2.3 overall grade in 115 total preseason snaps, including a +1.9 run defense grade.
If Whitehead’s preseason success can translate over to the regular season and the Lions’ veteran defenders can step into Tulloch’s leadership role, then the Lions just might be able to survive this loss.