Chris McCosky/ The Detroit News
Detroit — Ricardo Silva, an undrafted rookie out of Hampton, usually stands off by himself during practice.
The rest of the defensive players are in a pack and Silva, invariably, is about 10 yards apart, by himself, often rehearsing the drops or the coverages that are being played out on the field.
It’s a bit ironic a guy so often by himself in practice is so often in the thick of the action during games.
In limited time in three games, he has two interceptions and recovered a fumble.
“He makes plays when he’s in there,” coach Jim Schwartz said.
He picked off Tom Brady late in the second quarter, which was noteworthy for two reasons. One, he picked off Tom Brady, and two, he was in the game in the second quarter.
“The defense did a good job disguising that blitz,” Schwartz said. “We had the same play on earlier but this time the quarterback read it differently. But (Silva) is a little bit of a gamer. He’s always around the ball.”
Silva may have played his way onto the 53-man roster, or onto the practice squad at the very least. After starters Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey, and veteran Erik Coleman, Silva has emerged as the fourth safety.
At least for this week, he was ahead of veteran special teams ace John Wendling and recently signed Aaron Francisco and Michael Johnson.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gave the Lions defense its due credit Saturday.
“They’re a good team,” he said. “They were a good team when we played them last year. It was a close game until the fourth quarter. When we made some plays in the fourth quarter we showed some resiliency, but they are a good team. They’re good on defense, they play well offensively and they’re very well coached. They’re tough.”
As for his own performance, Brady said, “From the first series on we just couldn’t get into a rhythm. It was just a bad night all around. You don’t make excuses for it. We just didn’t play the way we needed to.”
Signs are pointing to a possible change of the guard at punter. Rookie Ryan Donahue not only started the game but he also held for kicker Jason Hanson.
That’s been Nick Harris’ job the last eight seasons.
“Ryan is part of our preseason rotation,” Schwartz said. “He’s punted well and held well. It’s a different dynamic going out and doing it under the pressure of a sold-out crowd and a nationally televised game. We needed to see him in that situation.”
Donahue handled the pressure. His two punts averaged 50 yards (though on his 58-yarder he might have outkicked the coverage). His net was only 33 yards. He held for two Hanson field goals.
Harris also punted well, averaging 48 yards per boot, and a 43.5-yard net.
Hanson has all but secured the kicking job. He booted field goals of 33 and 46 yards, plus he placed his kickoffs at the goal line, forcing the Patriots to return them. Twice the Lions stuffed the Pats inside the 20 on kickoffs. Dave Rayner missed a 48-yarder.
… Rookie receiver Titus Young saw his first game action and caught a 19-yard pass. He was pulled at halftime, though Schwartz said there was no aggravation to the sore hamstring.
… Linebacker Bobby Carpenter continues to have a strong preseason. His seven tackles led the team.