Boiman getting crash course in Lions defense

Rocky Boiman isn’t going to get a chance to ease his way into

the Detroit Lions’ defense.

It’s going to be more like cramming for final exams in his days

at Notre Dame.

The veteran linebacker signed with the Detroit Lions earlier in

the week and is scheduled to play in Thursday’s final preseason

game against Buffalo.

”We didn’t bring him in here to stand around,” Lions coach Jim

Schwartz said Tuesday. ”He’s here to play. We expect him to be out

there against the Bills.”

Learning an NFL scheme in three days sounds like an overwhelming

task, especially for a middle linebacker who will be responsible

for defensive calls, but Boiman has an advantage.

The 30-year-old started his career with the Titans, with

Schwartz as his defensive coordinator and Lions defensive

coordinator Gunther Cunningham as his position coach. Then he later

played for the Chiefs when Cunningham was the defensive

coordinator.

”He knows the scheme and he knows the terminology,” Schwartz

said. ”That will help him a lot.”

Boiman’s history with Schwartz and Cunningham is the reason he

was called to Detroit this week. The Lions were already struggling

with inexperience at linebacker before injuries to DeAndre Levy,

expected to start in the middle, and Jordon Dizon, his main

backup.

”We worked Rocky out before training camp, and he did a nice

job, so we knew he was in shape,” Schwartz said. ”We kept him in

mind in case we ended up in this kind of situation, where we found

ourselves short-handed late in camp. He was a guy that we knew we

could fit into the system fairly quickly.”

That doesn’t mean Boiman is having an easy week.

”Learning this is going to take every waking minute I have

before the game,” he said. ”And there’s still going to be stuff I

don’t know.”

Boiman won a Super Bowl ring with Indianapolis in 2006, but has

bounced around the league in the past two seasons.

”I’ve been in Cincinnati, my hometown, just trying to stay in

shape and waiting for someone to call,” he said. ”I knew I had a

really good workout with the Lions before camp started, and I have

a comfort level with coach Schwartz and coach Cunningham, so this

was a good place for me to land.”

Boiman also brings versatility, which will help him after Levy

returns from a groin injury.

”He’s a guy that we can use in the middle or on the outside,

plus he can play special teams,” Schwartz said. ”That’s what you

need from that part of the roster.”

Boiman said he doesn’t have a preference, since he’s never had a

chance to settle at one linebacker spot.

”My whole career, I’ve been bouncing around from one position

to another, so that’s what I’m used to doing,” he said.