|Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin runs after a catch while defended by Detroit Lions cornerback Chris Houston. Houston will make his regular-season debut Sunday at LP Field.(AP Images)|
Both the Lions' injury-depleted secondary and the team's prospects for a Week 3 win over the Titans got a major boost Wednesday when cornerback Chris Houston confirmed that he would make his regular-season debut Sunday at LP Field.
"I will definitely be out there this week," said Houston, in a departure from the usual vague answers given by Detroit's injured players when discussing their playing status. Houston has run during warm-ups before Detroit's last two games and said he was prepared to play in Detroit's Week 2 game at San Francisco before trainers ruled him out of action.
"It was close [in Week 2], but I still had little hitches,” he said. “I couldn't stop all the way, but now I can stop, plant and run full speed."
Houston's candor is an indication that his recovery is indeed complete. When asked similar questions before previous games, he used more subjective language to describe his rehab. He was a full participant in practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering a high-ankle sprain in Detroit's third preseason game, and his presence lent an added intensity to the DB drills open to media.
Houston is the only cornerback remaining from a 2011 defensive backfield that struggled to contain receivers late in the season after injuries decimated the unit. His effort during the offseason and experience in the Lions' system made him the unquestioned leader of the CB corps, so it would be easy to understand any frustration at missing Detroit's first two games. Instead, Houston has chosen to focus on his excitement at the chance to rejoin his teammates on the field.
“I'm definitely anxious [to play],” he said. “With all the work I put in during the offseason, to have a little setback, we don't always know why it happens, but I think this setback was for an amazing comeback.”
Houston's impending return couldn't come at a better time for a secondary that is sorely in need of healthy bodies. Veteran Drayton Florence (arm) was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return after eight weeks, and Bill Bentley was limited in drills Wednesday as he recovers from a Week 1 concussion. Bentley's uncertain status for Sunday's game would leave Detroit with just three fully healthy CBs, including new arrival Jerome Murphy -- if Houston were unable to play.
Houston says he understands that he's a large part of defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham's defensive plan and that his goal for Sunday is to help Detroit's secondary regain the solid form it lost against the 49ers.
“We want to try and get [the secondary] rolling,” he said. “They did well against St. Louis and had a little drop off against San Fran. We want to get things going in the right direction.”