When the Lions brought veteran defensive back Rashean Mathis in for a workout in August he didn’t know if he would earn an offer or return to his life as a free agent.

Now with rookie Darius Slay being benched in the first two games there’s a chance Mathis will start at right cornerback Sunday against the Redskins.

“When I had my workout here I wasn’t sure what was going on” Mathis said. “I packed an overnight bag and I ended up staying and haven’t left. I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in right now and it’s still to help the young guys grow.”

Mathis in his 11th season and Chris Houston in his seventh have played well so far this season but if the Lions’ first two games are any indication young cornerbacks Slay and Bill Bentley still have some growing pains to go through.

The Lions secondary faces a difficult task this week because Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is good at extending plays with his feet which requires cornerbacks to stay on their man longer.

Against the Cardinals last week Houston led the team with seven tackles and two passes defensed. Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said Houston flipped a switch after struggling against the run at the beginning of the game.

“I don’t know what happened but after that he probably played the best football game he’s played since he’s been a Detroit Lion” Cunningham said.

As for Mathis the late signing this offseason has already paid dividends. When he arrived Mathis played safety and nickel and now he’s showing that he can still play outside cornerback too.