The Detroit Lions organization will honor the team’s most unsung player next week with the 2012 Ron Kramer Award, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tells us that Stephen Tulloch will be honored by the Lions. He led the team with 112 tackles last season and was once again one of the team’s best defensive players. Although the tackle total is a tad misleading, Tulloch had a solid year overall and had the most snaps on defense on the team. The reason why I say the tackles stat is misleading is because Tulloch also missed 19 tackles and was actually a tad off the pace per his usual performance on run defense.
However, Tulloch has a perfectly good reason for being a little worse than usual against the run, and that’s because he played through an injury last season. Despite starting in all 16 games, the Lions solid linebacker played through severe knee tendinitis and needed surgery on his knee both before and after the 2012 season.
Tulloch was always known as a downhill run-stuffer with the Tennessee Titans, and he was a star for the Titans. The knock on him, though, was that his pass coverage skills were so poor that it might even be best to give him extra rest on third downs. But ever since he landed in Detroit, Tulloch’s pass coverage took a 180, to the point where it is now one of his strengths.
The team’s best linebacker last season over some good competition from Justin Durant, Stephen Tulloch also gave the Lions five quarterback hits and was the team’s best LB in coverage. Tulloch has definitely earned the right to wear the “C” on his jersey, especially after recording over 100 tackles last season (although the Pro Football Focus tracks 94) whilst playing through a knee injury.
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