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08/12/13Author: Carlos Monarrez - Detroit Free Press

Big exhibition game for Willie Young

Big exhibition game for Willie Young

Willie Young is at it again.

The fourth-year defensive end was the king of the exhibition season a year ago with a sack, a forced fumble, an interception and a blocked punt in four games.

In Friday’s 26-17 victory over the New York Jets in the exhibition opener at Ford Field, Young took a step toward defending his crown.

Actually, make that a giant leap. He had three tackles, including one for loss, batted down two passes and had the key pressure on quarterback Mark Sanchez that led to Ziggy Ansah’s 14-yard interception return.

“Oh, man,” Young bellowed in the locker room afterward. “Is that new to you? I mean, that’s nothing new to me. That’s what I do.”

The question with Young is whether he can keep up his production in the regular season, when games actually count. Last year, he was relegated to backup duty and finished with a paltry 11 tackles and no sacks.

“Unfortunately, during the season, things don’t play out that way; hadn’t since I’ve been here,” Young said of his production. “But it’s another opportunity and I just got to show up every day and game and make plays and do what I do, man.”

■D-LIGHTFUL: The Lions’ starting defense was on the field for the Jets’ first two drives and was exceptional, producing a touchdown, nearly getting another fromGlover Quin and barely letting the Jets cross midfield.

The Jets anticipated plenty of pressure from the defensive line and used a tight end to help with protection.

“We’ve got so much talent up front I know guys are going to start already plotting on us right now,” Young said. “I mean, they came out the box chipping. That says a lot about the threat that we bring to the table.”

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