Lions DE Vanden Bosch got work ethic from father
Detroit Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch didn’t get to
sleep in after playing high school football or slack off in the
summer while growing up in Iowa.
Vanden Bosch was put to work at a family construction business,
hauling blocks and bricks along with wheeling concrete around as
”It wasn’t easy,” he recalled Wednesday. ”As hard as I
worked, I don’t think I’ll ever work as hard as my dad did and does
still. The only thing I know how to do is go back to work. With dad
… he threw out his back and still went back to work.”
Then and now, Vanden Bosch plays with a relentless abandon on
each snap – whether the lights are on or not. Every time he’s on
the field for practice, for example, Vanden Bosch puts his hands on
the ball carrier, even if he’s lined up on one side and the play
goes the opposite way for a long gain.
”Literally, he does that every time,” marveled teammate Willie
Young, a second-year defensive end. ”Me and Cliff Avril were just
talking about him the other day when we doing individuals and he
was going at it like he was trying to make the team. We were saying
when we’re 10-year vets in the league, we hope we have that same
energy. He’s that guy you hear your high school or college coach
say, `That’s the guy you need to study.’ And, you should see him in
the weight room. It’s crazy. I can’t keep up with him.”
That’s why the Lions made signing him a top priority last
Detroit coach Jim Schwartz got to know Vanden Bosch well as
defensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans. Vanden Bosch, who
was drafted by Arizona in 2001, had a career-high 12 1/2 sacks in
2005 with the Titans and 12 in 2007.
Schwartz said Vanden Bosch has been a ”DNA match” for the
Lions on and off the field.
”It wasn’t just his leadership or his work ethic, but his
talent and the way he plays rubs off on a lot of other guys,”
Schwartz said. ”We have some really good young players and we
combined them with some good veterans, guys like Corey Williams and
Kyle Vanden Bosch. Kyle has been everything we needed. None of that
really means anything if he’s not productive and he’s been very
productive this year.”
Vanden Bosch didn’t practice Wednesday, following a program set
up after he had neck surgery in December to help him be at his best
It has worked well.
Vanden Bosch has five sacks, three forced fumbles and a
recovered fumble, proving the time off each week has helped him
make plays when they matter most.
”Certainly, it keeps me fresh,” he said. ”Any time you have a
neck injury and have neck surgery, I think there’s a concern that
you just want to limit the pounding during the week. I can’t argue
with the success it has given me on Sundays. I feel good and I’m
able to go out there and be productive to help this team win.”
The Lions (6-2) play Sunday at Chicago (5-3) in a game that’ll
give them a two-game lead over the Bears or put them in a
second-place tie behind Green Bay in the NFC North.
When Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler watches film, he sees No. 93
playing with what he called an ”unbelievable engine” from start
”He is going to go from the first play to the last play,”
Cutler said. ”Really good against the run as well as third down
getting off the edge. So you know the two guys (Vanden Bosch and
Avril) on the edge create a lot of problems. You can’t just
concentrate on one side because they have a dual threat there. It
makes it hard.”
The guys in the middle of the defensive line, Ndamukong Suh and
Williams, are pretty good as well. The entire unit is taking
advantage of having a healthy Vanden Bosch on the field after he
was limited to 11 games last year.
”I feel great,” Vanden Bosch said. ”After eight games, I
don’t think anybody feels great, but I don’t feel any different
than I did Week 2 or 3. It’s kind of been the design of the way
coach Schwartz has handled my practice schedule and my reps.”
Titans defensive end William Hayes said Vanden Bosch taught him
how to be a pro.
”The guy has the best motor that I’ve ever seen in my life,”
Hayes said. ”I think the year he left he played one game like
70-something plays, and you didn’t see him take off one play.
That’s hard and really rare to find in this league. And the one
thing I really try to take from him is just play every play like
it’s your last.”
Vanden Bosch shrugs off such compliments and values how his
upbringing helped shape a work ethic that has helped him stay
productive at a young man’s position with his 33rd birthday next
”It’s not conscious, but I think it something that was
engrained in me at a young age,” he said. ”There’s a certain way
to do things, a certain way to live your life.”
Notes: K Jason Hanson didn’t practice Wednesday because of an
injured left knee and the team worked out potential replacements
after practice. … P Ryan Donahue, the team’s holder on kicks, was
limited in practice because of an injured right thigh. … RB
Jahvid Best likely won’t play against the Bears on Sunday, almost a
month after his third career concussion.
AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn.,
contributed to this report.
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