The Detroit Lions defeated the Buffalo Bills in the final preseason game last night 23-0. Like always, preseason wins are useless. In this instance, it was even more useless as the team rested 20 players, most of which were healthy starters. They started several players who in all likelihood are not going to play much this season, if they make the team at all. Coach Jim Caldwell said before the game that the starting line up for that game should be taken with a grain of salt as they wanted to see some things from some of the guys. They saw quite a bit. Now, they have to make the tough decisions as to who gets cut and who stays. I expect the cuts to start today and will update a list when those happen. For now though, lets look at who did what to help their case for making the team.
George Winn Vs Mikel Leshoure
George Winn looked decisively better than Mikel Leshoure in Thursday’s preseason finale. In fact, all preseason long Winn has looked better. The problem for Winn is that Leshoure may not be his only competition. Winn also has to convince the coaches that they need a 4th running back versus keeping special teams ace Montell Owens. Owens, who did not play Thursday, had been dealing with an injury. The team not playing him either means his spot is safe or his injury was too severe to risk him in a meaningless game. Either way, I expect Winn will get cut and they will try to squeeze him to the practice squad.
Kellen Moore has been excellent all preseason. Granted he is playing against the third stringers but he still has shown efficiency, accuracy, and has moved the team down the field registering touchdowns instead of field goals where possible. Thursday night, Moore cemented his status as an active roster football player by completing 60% of his throws for 172 yards and 2 touchdown with 0 interceptions. In fact, Moore threw 0 interceptions all preseason. Unfortunately, Moore may not make the Detroit Lions active roster. The team is sold on Dan Orlovsky as their backup and Moore may not be needed as a number 3 quarterback. There are rumors though that if cut, he would land in Buffalo where they desperately need a quarterback. Moore, ironically, was the best quarterback on the field in Buffalo for either team Thursday. With his former quarterbacks coach in Buffalo, it is safe to say Kellen Moore will not be on a practice squad this season. He will make someone’s 53 man roster. I just hope it is Detroit’s as I feel he is ready to be a backup next season.
The wide receiver competition just got harder to figure out Thursday. With both Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate inactive, Kris Durham and Kevin Ogletree were slated to start. Durham was targeted 3 times and caught nothing. Ogletree was targeted twice and caught one pass for three yards. On the other side of the competition, Ryan Broyles caught 3 of 4 for 31 yards. Corey Fuller, who many believe should make the team but won’t, caught 3 of 5 for 48 yards and a touchdown. That was Fuller’s second touchdown of the preseason. With only one or two spots open at receiver, it will be interesting to see who stays and who goes. Durham will likely stay due to Stafford’s influence. Ogletree and Broyles will be the two talked about in determining the last spot. I would rather keep Broyles and Fuller and cut both Durham and Ogletree but that is unlikely at this point.
George Johnson continues to make things difficult on the coaches as he played well again Thursday, netting 1.5 sacks. If he can keep that up in the regular season, he will likely be a rotational defensive end. I project him making the team given his consistency and ability. Whether they keep him or not is up to the coaches.
The secondary netted 3 interceptions in Buffalo. Isa Abdul-Quddus, a safety on the boarder of making the team, snagged his second interception of the preseason. He is a player that, when paired with Couplin, formed a solid safety tandem. He and Couplin played so well together that some think both will make the team. Cornerbacks Nate Ness and Mohammed Seisay both picked one off Thursday as well. For Ness, that is is second pick in two games. While neither were considered for the 53 man roster, both are being highly considered for the practice squad. Ness, however, may have made some of the coaches question if he’s better that Greenwood.
After a rough week where many were disappointed that Tavecchio was cut so quickly in a close competition with Freese, Freese silenced his critics with 3 of 3 on his field goals, 2 of which were from 53, and 2 of 2 on extra points. If he can keep this level up consistently, I think the kicking game will be just fine.