08/26/12Author: Anwar S. Richardson - MLive
Jim Schwartz praises DE Willie Young for making plays
OAKLAND -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz finally admitted an undeniable fact about defensive end Willie Young after a 31-20 preseason loss against the Oakland Raiders.
Young makes plays.
Schwartz was hesitant to give Young props after Detroit's preseason loss against Cleveland. He softened his stance after defeating Baltimore last week, but said Young still had a long way to go. Young's performance against Oakland finally cracked Schwartz's hard shell.
"He makes a lot of plays," Schwartz said. "The biggest thing is just playing. It's one thing to make plays, but it's another thing to make plays you should make. (Saturday) was good."
Young's outstanding preseason continued against Oakland yesterday.
The Raiders faced 3rd-and-11 on their own 16-yard line when quarterback Carson Palmer dropped back in the pocket. Lions defensive end Ndamukong Suh broke through Oakland's offensive line and was instantly in Palmer's face. Palmer was forced to rush his pass to running back Taiwan Jones, and Young was in place to grab an interception.
"Suh made a nice rush, but (Lions linebacker Stephen) Tulloch had a big hand in that also," Schwartz said. "They tried to get the ball to the tight end, and if he had thrown the ball, we would have intercepted it.
"He had to pull it down, and Ndamukong was there to get that sack. That was a good play off the bat. That was two guys playing good team defense together."
Young has been great this preseason.
Young blocked a punt, and almost recorded a safety against Baltimore quarterback Tyrod Taylor, against the Baltimore Ravens last week.
Two weeks ago, Young had one sack, a forced fumble, and a quarterback pressure against the Cleveland Browns.
However, Schwartz was hesitant to praise Young. Lions coaches are concerned if they give Young too many accolades the positive attention may get to his head and affect his play on-the-field. So far, Young has remained humble.
Young's maturation gives Detroit enough quality depth to become one of the NFL's best defensive lines this season, but he already has one major accomplishment.
Schwartz admitted Young makes plays.
"I got a long way to go," Young said. "I'm not taking anything away from myself, but a long way to go. Obviously, a flash here and there. Made a couple of plays here and there, but one of my main focuses was coming out and being a force against the run in particular. Obviously, got a couple of good pass rushes off, but my main focus this game was gap integrity and to be in the run game. I feel like I did a pretty good job.
"Once I get back into the film room (on Sunday) and check things out, that will say a lot. D-line all the way across the board, we set the tempo. We set the standard."