Originally written July 03, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
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(This is the fourth in a series examining the Detroit Lions highly-scrutinized secondary.) Safety Amari Spievey already knew his lack of consistency was a concern to the Lions' coaching staff. Now he knows it more than ever since the club acquired veteran free agent Sean Jones. Spievey started 24 games in his first two seasons, including 15 last year, but that first-team job is clearly on the line now. Jones, 30, has started 85 games over his seven-year career, 32 of those coming the last two years at strong safety with Tampa Bay. He signed a one-year deal last week with Detroit. It's a wake-up call and a challenge for Spievey. I feel I played pretty bad last year, Spievey said during the Lions minicamp last month. Just being inconsistent, making a good play then giving up another play. This year, I just want to be consistent. Gunter (Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham) always tells me how much he believes in me, how confident he is in me. He says, Amari, youve just got to get it. I am going to get it. Were tired of talking about it. I just want to go out and do it." Spievey, 24, was drafted as a cornerback when we came out of Iowa in the third round in 2010. He was converted to safety in his rookie year by the Lions and made nine starts that season. Spievey admitted he was terrified when he first found out he was changing positions. He's still learning on the job. At safety, theres a lot to know, he said. Youve got to see everything, youve got to know everything. Youve got to make checks. Youre not a corner just waiting for the calls. Youre actually giving the calls. Thats what I was scared of, but Ive come to learn that it can be done. Im feeling pretty good this year. Louis Delmas, the Lions other starting safety, has only one more year of NFL experience than Spievey, but Delmas has helped his teammate with the transition. Delmas started his college career at cornerback before moving to safety during his sophomore year at Western Michigan. Without him, I dont know where I would be right now, Spievey said. You can question Spievey's consistency, but not his toughness. He played the final three quarters of the Lions playoff loss to New Orleans after suffering a concussion during a collision with Saints running back Darren Sproles. Spievey continued to experience post-concussion symptoms during the offseason, including severe headaches for a while, before returning to the field during the clubs minicamp. That head injury is likely at least part of the reason the Lions opted to add Jones at this time. Spievey will enter training camp later this month for whats likely to be one of the more hotly contested position battles. Erik Coleman, an eight-year pro, also could figure into the mix. Spievey can take nothing for granted. Its his third year in the system, coach Jim Schwartz said. His position coach hasnt changed, his coordinator hasnt changed. We need to see more consistency out of him. When hes played well, hes played very well for us. However, when hes played poorly, hes played very poorly, too. The competition with Jones just might bring out the best in Spievey. At least thats the plan.
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