He saw guys come and go some good some bad many nondescript. The Lions’ secondary fell apart and was picked apart and cornerback Chris Houston often was the last man standing.

So when it was his chance to leave Houston did what came naturally. He stuck it out and stayed.

The money helped no doubt. The team’s commitment helped. Houston is an underrated cover guy who shies from nothing risking a humbling every practice just trying to stick with Calvin Johnson. The secondary remains one of the Lions’ great unknowns especially with the uncertain health of Louis Delmas but at least it has real possibilities now.

Talented draft picks dot the field including touted second-round rookie Darius Slay. There’s Bill Bentley the third-rounder who would have started last season if not for a shoulder injury and Jonte Green. But for the secondary to finally be decent a lot will fall on two guys: The one who stayed and the one who came.

Houston stayed signing a five-year $25 million contract barely 36 hours after becoming an unrestricted free agent. The next day Glover Quin arrived signing a five-year $23.5 million contract to leave the Texans.

A matter of trust

Both players trusted the Lions were determined to fix their defense. And in the early days of training camp trust between the two veterans has grown an element long missing in a patchwork secondary.

“I probably played with 20 different safeties since I’ve been here five or six just last year” said Houston in his fourth season as a Lions starter. “There was no camaraderie no communication. We’d get a safety off the street and he’d try to learn everything in the playbook in a week. We got a lot of bigger guys now speed guys. When you got set pieces and they understand each other you can play fast and gamble and make more plays like in 2011.”

Houston doesn’t shy away from the truth that injuries and off-field disruptions sparked the Lions’ 4-12 freefall. The defense was loaded with free agents perhaps eying the door and it didn’t take long for cohesiveness to crumble.