| Detroit Free Press
Even in a win, Detroit Lions’ flaws are apparent. Can they fix them?
Dave Birkett, Carlos Monarrez and Shawn Windsor break down the Detroit Lions after their 30-27 win over Washington on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020.
Everson Griffen’s energy on the football field is boundless. Or, to use his own words, “over the top.”
“I just got energy,” Griffen said Wednesday. “My kids love it. My wife, sometimes she doesn’t, but, hey, she got to deal with it.”
Two games into his Detroit Lions career, it’s clear that so do opponents.
Griffen made his Lions debut Nov. 8 against his old team, the Minnesota Vikings. He marched up and down the field before the game, yelling indecipherable things at the Vikings sideline — Minnesota did not offer him a contract after the 2019 season, and Griffen took offense to comments VIkings coach Mike Zimmer made calling him merely a “good” player.
He made three tackles and deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage in two dozen snaps against the Vikings, then made a bigger impact in last week’s win over Washington.
Coming off the bench as the Lions’ third defensive end, Griffen played more snaps than any other defensive lineman (56) and had a game-high five quarterback hits, three of them during Washington’s tying fourth-quarter field goal drive.
“I wish you could spend some time with this young man,” Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin said. “He’s an incredible person and I think the observation from the energy and seeing that from a distance — I don’t know if you can hear him or how you make that observation, but, yeah, he’s an incredible guy. Welcome addition.”
Griffen said he gets his vitality and happy disposition from his mother, Sabrina Scott, who raised him as a single parent and “taught me all about hard work, getting good grades and grinding.”
Scott died Oct. 10, 2012, of spontaneous coronary artery dissection, while visiting Griffen in Minnesota.
“Just seeing her putting her hard work in and being able to support my family and me and my brother and still working hard, I don’t know, I just dig deep and I just love this game of football,” Griffen said. “We only get to play this game for a short period of time, so I think just enjoying it the way you want to enjoy it and doing it the way you want to do it and just having fun with it is the best way to do it.”
It’s clear Griffen has fun on the football field, and three weeks after the Lions acquired him in a trade from the Dallas Cowboys, it seems he will be a part of whatever success they are able to find over the final seven weeks of the regular season.
With Trey Flowers on injured reserve, likely until December, Griffen is the Lions’ most experienced and versatile defensive end.
He had 74.5 sacks in 10 seasons with the Vikings, 2.5 in seven games with the Cowboys and got his first as a Lion last week.
“(He had) a little bit more snaps (against Washington) and I would foresee that just growing as he gets more comfortable in the scheme,” Undlin said. “There’s some stuff that can happen out there, depending on the call, where you get in some different situations, so I’m trying to manage that for him so I don’t put him in some bad spots that he hasn’t had enough time to know all the rules and all the techniques. But the guy is, ‘Hey, man, whatever you want me to do, whatever you guys want us to do, want me to do, I’m doing it.’ And it’s been nothing but positive to this point.”
Griffen credited “good play calling” and execution for his big game last week, and in typical fun-loving fashion said he’s looking forward to playing his old Vikings teammate, Teddy Bridgewater, and the Carolina Panthers this week.
Griffen and Bridgewater played the 2014-17 seasons together in Minnesota.
“I love Teddy,” Griffen said. “I can’t wait to see him. Hopefully I get to hit him a few times, but I love Teddy. I want him to play. I want to hit him a few times. That’s what this game’s about, to have fun and see a couple of your buddies. Yeah, I love Teddy. And he’s playing great ball right now, too.”