One should not put much weight in any preseason game. When going against a team like the depleted Buffalo Bills in the last game before the regular season, gaining any sort of valuable information is like trying to draw blood from a skeleton.
With that said I am getting out the 16 gauge needle and taking a look at this game from a Detroit Lions vs. Detroit Lions standpoint rather than involving the Bills. What do I mean by that? Well, the final preseason game is the last chance for fringe players to show off their skills in hopes of keeping their spots on the 53-man roster that will be selected this Tuesday. The wide receivers put on the most notable of displays.
A Puzzling Picture
– Receivers Patrick Edwards, Khris Durham and Matt Willis all looked terrific . Edwards burned by his opponents over and over when playing with Stafford but had little to show for it. Later the 24-year-old made a shake and bake scramble for six after a quick screen pass from Shaun Hill. The 6-foot-6 Durham showed off his sure hands with two catches on his two targets and grabbed himself a touchdown as well. Finally, wildcard Willis continues to make consistently make spectacular grabs all over the field. The Lions need to cut one of these guys and while they will likely go with youth, 29-year-old Willis has made himself tough to cut.
– Returner Steven Miller did not show enough on special teams to be kept. He made a magnificent run for 34 yards after he broke a few tackles in sweet style, but he is not in the running for a spot at halfback.
– Undrafted rookie LaAdrian Waddle played for most of the game and continued to play mistake-free. The 321-pound tackle looks like he could have a very bright future if the Lions continue to develop him the right way. When was the last time Detroit groomed an undrafted rookie into an NFL starter? The potential is there for Waddle.
– Newly signed 33-year-old veteran Rashean Mathis proved that he still has something left in the tank. He played right with his opposing wide receivers and even grabbed an interception. The Lions have another tough choice to make here as they could go with Mathis, a former star, or the talented but raw Chris Greenwood to cover up the backend of their secondary. They could also shock us by dropping 31-year-old vet Ron Bartell who has been hurt for a bulk of this preseason.
- The starting lines on both sides of play for Detroit barely budged. They each only played for a couple of series, but it was easy to see.
- The lone interception for the Lions this preseason came off a botched play by Nate Burleson.
- Theo Riddick is a versatile piece that many teams would be happy to have, but the Lions depth chart at running back is already crowded. Riddick’s skill set is not unique enough to make this roster.
- Willie Young really improved this offseason. His two sacks on the night were never seen last season. He will fortify the Lions’ newly found strength at defensive end.
- Matthew Stafford has a cannon for an arm, so don’t even think about a quarterback controversy; however, backups Shaun Hill and Kellen Moore have brought their best pistols to play this preseason. The Lions need Stafford to stay healthy to have a chance at a postseason run, but this team would not implode if he had to miss a couple of weeks.
One Last Thing
Only ten days until kickoff!