If there's an overlooked player on Detroit's defense, it's former Falcons cornerback Chris Houston. Since being traded to the Lions in the offseason before the 2010 season, Houston has stepped into the secondary up north and helped stabilize a position group the franchise has worked hard to add talented and healthy players under the current regime. Since 2010, Houston has eight interceptions, showing the growth he continued to have since leaving Atlanta after his first three seasons in the NFL.
Last season, Houston had a career year, registering five touchdowns, including one returned for a touchdown and 14 passes defensed. After missing the first two games of the season this year, he's got two interceptions, nine passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
"He was hurt earlier in the season; he had a high-ankle sprain in the preseason and missed our first couple games of the year," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said on Wednesday morning. "He's had a consistent year. I think he's been very consistent. He's done a good job in coverage. He's done a good job in the run game. He's done that since he's been here. He's been a consistent player the last three years for us."
Starting opposite Drayton Florence, Houston's been able to offer a veteran presence in the secondary and this season, according to Schwartz, Houston has matched up man-on-man against some of the primary receivers for opponents. His coverage skills and experience mean he's a solid choice to defend against a team's top wide receiver option.
"He's a real solid pro, very consistent and this year he's even taken on an additional role of matching receivers in certain games for us," Schwartz said. "He's gone out and challenged some bigger receivers like Andre Johnson and Chris isn't the biggest guy in the world, but he's extremely competitive."