Detroit Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone is currently playing some of the best football of his career. The sixth-year veteran has had more production this season through 14 Weeks than he has in any other season of his career.
Anzalone was selected in the third round, 76th overall, in the 2017 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He spent four years with the Saints, and much like Malcolm Rodriguez, he earned the starting outside linebacker position as a rookie. His time in New Orleans was spotty as he spent a lot of time on Injured Reserve. After the 2020 season, he signed with the Detroit Lions.
By the Numbers
In his four seasons with the Saints, he played in 38 games and produced 122 tackles, eight TFLs, eight quarterback hits, four sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception. However, so far in his two seasons with Detroit, he’s played in 27 games tallying 178 tackles, five TFLs, seven quarterback hits, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Of those 178 tackles for the Lions, 100 of them have been recorded this year. As of Sunday, Anzalone was the only NFL player with at least 100 tackles, one sack, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery this season. Linebackers Coach Kelvin Sheppard spoke Friday on just how difficult having a 100-tackle season is.
“I know myself personally, playing eight years, I had a hundred tackle season one time. That’s not as easy as some people might think because you play linebacker you’re going to make a lot of tackles – no. That’s not the way the NFL is structured, especially nowadays… And for him to do that in 13 games.”
Leading By Example
Coach Sheppard spoke extremely highly of Anzalone. Crediting his work ethic, his leadership, and his selflessness. He put an emphasis on the fact Anzalone goes out of his way to help other players out. Specifically, Malcolm Rodriguez.
Anzalone is also one of the veteran players Head Coach Dan Campbell pointed out earlier in the week. Coach Campbell spoke on the veteran leaders in the locker room and how they play a huge part in why the team is playing so well right now.
The Detroit Lions packed up their lockers today to hit the road to MetLife Stadium. They will face the New York Jets on Sunday at 1pm ET.
Maddy Miller – Detroit Lions Beat Reporter
On Twitter: @madelynvmillerr
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