Which Teddy Lehman will show up?

One of the biggest questions going into training camp will be which Teddy Lehman will show up: the player who, as a rookie, took more snaps than any other defensive player and played at a high level, or the guy who has struggled to stay healthy the last two years?

It’s a question the Lions want answered, one way or the other. If healthy, Lehman will push Paris Lenon for the starting job because he’s very bright, shows good instincts and has speed. For all intents and purposes, Lehman only has one year of experience so his development is still in the early stages.

All the reports now are positive about Lehman’s health but until he gets in pads and goes through several days of heavy contact, no one is really sure if his foot is going to hold up. The problem started two years ago when Lehman suffered a foot injury that was later diagnosed as a Lisfranc sprain. Lehman wasn’t put on the injured reserve list for several weeks because the team was still hoping he might return.

The injury continued to linger into last season where Lehman missed the entire training camp and the first seven games of the season. After appearing in four games, Lehman missed the final five games with a hamstring injury.

If Lehman truly is healthy, it’s going to be interesting to see how quickly – and how well – he adapts to the one-gap system. Remember, he was never on the field last year when the scheme was being installed. Lehman isn’t the type of player who excels at taking on blockers one-on-one, but his athletic ability will serve him well in filling gaps.

The Lions saw some of that ability beginning to blossom during his rookie season. The former second-round pick from Oklahoma was a workhorse, amassing 120 tackles on defense and also playing on several special teams units. Since that point, he hasn’t played in more than five games in any of the last two seasons.