Lions DL Michael Brockers excited to face old team, finds a purpose in Detroit

Detroit Free Press

Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff will not be the only players facing their old teams when the Detroit Lions visit the Los Angeles Rams this week.

For Lions defensive lineman Michael Brockers, Sunday’s trip to SoFi Stadium is a homecoming, too.

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Brockers, who played nine seasons with the Rams and was part of the organization’s 2015 move from St. Louis to L.A., said he considers his March trade to Detroit a blessing after he nearly left the Rams one season earlier.

In 2020, Brockers agreed to a three-year, $30 million free agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens that was scrapped because of concerns about his injured ankle. He re-signed with the Rams weeks later, but was on the verge of being a cap casualty this spring when he was dealt to Detroit.

“I’m a man of faith and I’ve been in this situation where I was going to head to Baltimore and in my honest opinion, I feel like if that would have went through, God wanted that to happen, it would have went through,” Brockers said. “That didn’t happen, but he allowed this trade for Detroit to come through. So I just feel like it’s a reason for me to be here. It’s a reason for me to be here. And I think about that all the time, contemplate that. It’s a reason why I’m here. I don’t know what my purpose is here. All I can do is show up every day and be myself and give everything I have to this team. But it’s a reason why I’m here.”

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Brockers has 18 tackles and one sack in six starts for the Lions this fall.

His production has dipped from the past two seasons, when he totaled 114 tackles and eight sacks, but Lions defensive line coach Todd Wash said Brockers is playing better football.

“To me, he’s probably playing the best football he’s played in the last couple of years,” Wash said. “And we’re putting him outside at some defensive end in some 4-3 type stuff that we have where he’s on tight ends and it’s a mismatch and it’s really helped.”

An interior defensive lineman for most of his time with the Rams, Brockers also has taken on a significant leadership role in the Lions defensive line room, where he is an important mentor to rookie draft picks Alim McNeill and Levi Onwuzurike.

Wash called Brockers “a great leader and without a doubt a big, big help in that room.”

Brockers said he holds no animosity towards his old team for the trade and is looking forward to facing the Rams on Sunday.

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“It’s the next one,” he said. “I’m very professional about how I go about my business. Yes, I do have a lot of ex-teammates on that team and a lot of good friends. There was no love lost between me and the Rams when I left, so it was just about understanding the pro, I made a pro decision. I came here. We’re in this position and we just got to move forward.”

Roster shakeup coming

Lions coach Dan Campbell said Monday he is considering depth chart changes with his 0-6 team, though he declined to discuss specifics.

“I don’t want to get too far into where that will go as far as the roster, but we’re looking at that,” Campbell said. “I think we’re going to shake things up here a little bit.”

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Campbell ruled out a possible change at quarterback after Sunday’s 34-11 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, but he said just about everything else is on the table.

The Lions, the only winless team left in the NFL, rank 28th in scoring offense, 29th in total offense and 31st in total defense through six games.

“I think we just keep tinkering and try to find the best solution that we can,” Campbell said. “We’re really no different than anybody else, either. We’re a new staff and we’re kind of learning and growing and working with each other and figuring each other out. The staff is no different than the players. You have strengths and you have weaknesses and how do you complement each other is something that we’re also working with right now.”

Briefly

Campbell said Charles Harris is day to day with an oblique injury he suffered against the Bengals. Harris has a team-leading four sacks for the Lions, who already have lost top edge rusher Romeo Okwara for the season to a torn Achilles tendon.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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