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The Lions have serious issues at the linebacker spot. That was the case before camp started and it’s even more acute now. Middle linebacker Jordon Dizon, who was starting in place of injured starter DeAndre Levy (back), sustained what Lions’ officials fear is a season-ending knee injury Saturday.”It looks like a really serious knee injury,” Schwartz said. “We’re waiting to see what it is, but it didn’t look good at the time. We’ll pray for the best but it looks pretty significant.”Dizon told people afterward that he felt he was done for the season. The Lions expect Levy back perhaps as early as this week, but even still, they will have some decisions to make.”We need to get DeAndre back,” Schwartz said. “But if Dizon is as bad as we think, we’re going to have to make a move there.”The Lions have one proven starter, outside linebacker Julian Peterson, who is having a strong camp. On the other side is first-year starter Zach Follett, an aggressive, big-hitting player prone to missed assignments and over-zealousness.The back-ups include special teams aces Vinny Ciurciu, Isaiah Ekejiuba, Ashlee Palmer and Landon Johnson, plus first-year Caleb Campbell.Dizon will be missed.He was undersized to play in the middle (232 pounds), but he compensated with quickness, speed and relentlessness. He was also a part of the Lions’ nickel packages and special teams.
He was supposed to bring a boost to Denver’s pass rush and possibly even start on the defensive line after signing a four-year, million contract with million guaranteed in March.But so far in training camp, defensive end Jarvis Green has been an invisible man.The starting right end in OTAs, Green has been relegated not only to backup status behind Ryan McBean, but hasn’t even cracked the second unit, with Marcus Thomas standing in his way.In the nickel, Justin Bannan, another free-agent signee, has been a fixture while Thomas for the most part has been aligned next to him. Denver flanks two defensive linemen with its outside linebackers in some pass-rush situations, and Green runs with the second unit in that personnel group.”Everybody’s improved … some guys more than others,” defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely said last week in his first appearance before the media this season.”Jarvis will have his time. It’s like I tell all the guys, we have four games to play in the preseason and that’s where you really prove things. That will be the test. He’ll have plenty of opportunities to show what he can do, just like all the rest.”The Broncos need all the help they can get in attacking opposing quarterbacks now that Elvis Dumervil is likely done for the season following surgery on a torn chest muscle.Green had two seasons in New England with six-plus sacks and 28 total in eight seasons. Denver’s top six defensive linemen through the first two weeks plus of camp have combined for 18.5 sacks in their NFL careers, with nose tackle Jamal Williams accounting for 13 of those.”We’re fortunate that we’re deep,” Nunnely said. “We have good players on the defensive line. Jarvis adds to that depth. It’s just a matter of rotating he and the other guys in there.”
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