When all is said and done, the preseason is not the actual season.
The goal of training camp is to find out who belongs on your team, and who doesn’t. This, of course, is all done with a major emphasis on staying healthy.
The Lions were able to accomplish their preseason goal in a healthy manner, making the 2012 preseason a success in my mind. While the team didn’t look as good as Lions fans would have liked, they avoided injury and established the 53-man roster.
When a team starts with 90 players and finishes with just 53, cuts have to be made. Included in this year’s cuts were veterans Alphonso Smith and Maurice Stovall, players who both contributed in Detroit last season.
Head coach Jim Schwartz elected to cut Smith, Stovall, and others, while keeping players such as quarterback Kellen Moore. Moore was on the cut bubble all preseason, and I personally though he would not make the team. Moore’s 17-for-30 performance against Buffalo was enough to convince Schwartz he deserved a spot. Moore threw for 211 yards in the game and added a one-yard rushing touchdown.
Moore is a good player, and belongs on the 53-man roster, but there will always be controversy.
Which is good: I have to write about something.
I can tolerate Moore being on the team, but the spot could have been used on a player who plays a position where the Lions have a bit more of a need. After all, I think Stafford has the starting job pretty much handled, and Shaun Hill is a stellar backup.
My beef is with these three roster spots: Moore, OT Corey Hilliard, and LB Tahir Whitehead.
Hilliard isn’t a bad player, but he is the Lions’ ninth offensive lineman and fifth tackle. I know offensive lineman are oft-injured, but I don’t see the need to roster nine of them.
Whitehead has shown me absolutely no reason why he belongs on the team. This preseason, he was a non-factor along with fellow rookie Travis Lewis. Both made the team, telling me that Schwartz wants a longer look at these two young linebackers.
I really thought that WR Patrick Edwards played his way onto the roster with some nice catches and great special teams play. It was a few dropped balls that kept him off the roster in the end. Edwards did, however, make the practice squad, so don’t be surprised to see the Lions give him a shot this year if injuries occur.
With the Lions out of the preseason unscathed, it’s finally time to start talking about the real deal.
Bring on St. Louis.