The Detroit Lions wrapped up minicamp this week with rookie standouts including Sam LaPorta and Jack Campbell drawing headlines. Early intel suggests Campbell may be a leader of the defense, adding to an impressive young core of defensive players.
Among them is James Houston, who had eight sacks and 11 tackles last season with the Lions in limited action. Houston will return to the familiar #41 jersey number he wore in college at Jackson State this season.
The standout pass rusher has other numbers in mind for 2023. He said recently that his goal is to double his sack total this season. For Houston to do that, he will need to get on the field more often.
Recently, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn laid out Houston’s path. Glenn said Houston must improve against the run.
“It’s clear to him that, man, in order for me to take that next step, I have to be able to be a damn good player against the run in base, against the run in sub,” Glenn explained.
“When it comes to rushing the passer, when I’m working with somebody else, I have to be really, really good at being able to work with somebody else, as far as any games or things like that.”
Glenn also understands that Houston will a focus of opposing teams’ scouting reports this season. He needs to adjust, the former NFL defensive back said to SI.com.
“That’s what’s going to take him to the next level, and not just be somebody on the edge,” Glenn explained. “Because at some point they’re going to know exactly who you are, and they’re going to be able to defend you just cause they know exactly what you want to do.”
The Lions open preseason play on August 11 against coach Brian Daboll, Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones and the New York Giants. They’re scheduled to take on Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on September 7 in their first regular season game.