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Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 8/6/2013

Jones, Young could be crucial at DE for Lions

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Jason Jones signed with Detroit this offseason. Willie Young has been on the Lions for a while now.

They do have one thing in common, though — this training camp is a chance for both defensive ends to earn a bigger role for 2013.

When Detroit cut veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch and lost Cliff Avril via free agency, the Lions suddenly needed to replace both starting defensive ends from last season.

First-round draft pick Ziggy Ansah could fill one of those spots, but the more experienced Jones and Young are competing for playing time as well.

Whoever is on the ends of the line will have to produce to prevent offenses from gearing up too much against defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.

"We've got two big guys in the middle who are wreaking havoc and causing a lot of trouble and confusion," Young said. "It's going to be critical that we set solid, strong edges, so those guys can play around in the middle."

Avril flourished at times in Detroit's defensive scheme. He had 29 sacks over the past three seasons before signing with Seattle. The Lions, meanwhile, nabbed a defensive end from the Seahawks when they signed Jones.

After 12 games with Seattle last season — and no starts — the 6-foot-5, 276-pound Jones returns to the Detroit area. He is from nearby Southfield and went to Eastern Michigan.

"Just coming back in and having the opportunity to start in the NFL is big anywhere," Jones said. "Playing with the guys here right now, I think the sky's the limit for us."

Jones started 28 games in the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He has 18 1/​2 sacks in his five-year career.

Although he's never started, Young played all 16 games last season for the Lions. Now Avril and Vanden Bosch are gone, meaning he could be on the field more this year.

"That's a part of the business," Young said. "It's definitely an opportunity for myself and every defensive end."

Jones and Ansah are listed as the starters on Detroit's depth chart, with Young and Israel Idonije the top backups. Young was drafted in the seventh round in 2010.

"I think that he has skills that fit what we need from that position," coach Jim Schwartz said. "He's playing with another increase in understanding. He's a young veteran player now. He's not a young player anymore."

Ansah was taken with the fifth overall pick in this year's draft. Detroit is counting on the former Brigham Young standout to develop into a star despite limited experience. He grew up in Ghana, playing soccer and basketball, before playing football for the first time in 2010.

BROWNS/​YOUNT: Cleveland long snapper Christian Yount agreed to a five-year contract that will keep him in Cleveland through 2017.

Yount, 25, is in his third year with the Browns and has played in all 21 games since being signed Nov. 29, 2011. The 6-foot-1, 256-pounder is the lone holdover among Cleveland's specialists as it did not re-sign Pro Bowl kicker Phil Dawson, punter Reggie Hodges, kick returner Joshua Cribbs or coverage ace Ray Ventrone.

PACKERS/​YOUNG: Green Bay has signed free agent Vince Young as a backup quarterback.

The Packers looked at their options after No. 3 quarterback B.J. Coleman threw two interceptions in an intrasquad scrimmage. The No. 2 quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers is Graham Harrell.

Young spent five seasons with Tennessee and one with Philadelphia. He has a 31-19 career record as a starter.



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