The Detroit Lions lost to the Oakland Raiders Friday night by a score of 27-26. While losses in preseason do not really mean much, what does matter is player performance. We saw a few things in this game that are worth outlining, both about individual effort and about positional play. All in all, I think we are seeing a slightly different team on the field than we are in practice in regards to the depth players who are fighting for roster spots.
Theo Riddick has a nice catch on a screen pass in the game. Regardless of that though, Riddick is a running back and has failed yet again to move the ball on the ground. It concerns me that we hear about how well he is doing in camp but yet he cannot seem to find a hole. I do need to give him credit for the screen play though as that became a big part of Reggie Bush’s offense last season.
George Winn continued to add to his resume by scoring on a goal line plunge but unfortunately he only gained 9 yards on 8 carries. Those numbers have to improve if Winn is to make the team. That being said, he is getting more reps with the special teams units seemingly to make the push to replace Mikel Leshoure who, while leading the team in rushing this week, still did not look like an NFL running back.
Matthew Stafford looked crisp. He went 9-10 for 88 yards and two touchdowns WITHOUT Calvin Johnson. He looks to have improved this offseason and the new tools he has to work with definitely helped out as his first drive saw 5 different receivers touch the football.
Dan Orlovsky did a much better job than last week. While he did not throw any touchdown passes, he did more the ball around and allowed his team to put points on the board. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain this production as Kellen Moore did not let up this week. While Moore did not record a touchdown this week, he did go 5-8 for 50 yards. Showing consistent accuracy, Moore is making a strong push to remain on the roster.
Ryan Broyles, as was said last week, looks healthy and made two nice plays on Friday. Hopefully he can remain healthy and put together a nice season this year.
Finally, the defensive ends, especially Larry Webster, looked solid Friday, consistently putting pressure on the quarterbacks. Webster even forced David Carr out with a concussion this week. After big hits in the last two games, it is safe to say Webster will be a nice addition to the already strong defensive line.