In week three of the preseason, the Detroit Lions beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 13-12. As always, the final score was not important as it is just preseason. This game however was a big one for most teams as they usually game plan their opponent and play their starters longer. For Detroit, that was the plan. The game was a disaster though for a team as talented as the Detroit Lions. There were several things that they wanted to accomplish and unfortunately they did the opposite. They stressed needing to improve Matthew Stafford‘s game. Instead, he started the game 1-5 with a pick. They stressed discipline, and instead committed 15 penalties for 131 yards. Instead of the offense looking better with Calvin Johnson, the offense looked worse. Below the jump is a breakdown of who did well and who hurt their chances of making the team.
George Winn vs Mikel Leshoure
The competition between Winn and Leshoure for a possible roster spot was a bit murky with neither player separating themselves from the other. It is likely that Winn does not make the team due to the Lions ability to stash him on the practice squad (provided no other team claims him). Winn did not rush well today, and had a fumble again. He did however score a touchdown. Leshoure had one big run, but otherwise his numbers were identical to Winn’s statistically as well as having a fumble. Leshoure did not score though. So if you do a side by side comparison, it would be Leshoure’s 30 yard run versus Winn’s touchdown. In my opinion, neither player earned a roster spot tonight.
Chris Greenwood vs Jonte Green
Greenwood had the edge over Green leading up to tonight’s game. The difference though is that Green got a pick tonight and Greenwood did not. Nate Ness also recorded a pick, but he is not likely in the discussion for an active roster spot. Chances are that Green earned himself a spot over Greenwood with tonight’s performance.
Wide Receiver Competition
Tonight belonged to Ryan Broyles. He was finally the player that the Lions expected when they drafted him in the second round a couple years ago. He has been great all offseason but tonight he separated himself from the pack by being a reliable sure handed target for Dan Orlovsky. Broyles likely locked himself into a roster spot tonight. If he can continue tonight’s performance all season long, the Lions offense should be fantastic this year.
As i mentioned earlier, Stafford looked awful today. He started very poorly, and tossed an interception on a play in which he forced a pass to Calvin Johnson. He proceeded to force the ball to him on the next drive, but luckily he was able to make the play, and Stafford went on to spread the ball around and become more efficient. If tonight was any indication, Stafford is the same player he was last season and this could be a long year. If this was just a bad game, and I hope it is, then there is a chance of the team making the playoffs this year.
Calvin Johnson‘s debut
Calvin Johnson looked good in his debut. He did not play much, which was expected, and he mentioned needing to get his wind back. All in all, it looks like he is ready for the regular season.
Reggie Bush looked like he is ready for the regular season. He had two carries for 95 yards and a touchdown. If Bush plays like he did tonight, he will have a great season this year. We did not get to see much of Bush tonight, likely because of how good he was early.
Tonight, Tahir Whitehead may have sealed up a roster spot. He was likely already going to have one, but with Kyle Van Noy out, Whitehead and Palmer split time with the starters. Whitehead finished with 10 tackles and 3 sacks. Those stats were incredible for a player that earlier this week was not even guaranteed a roster spot. Whitehead was given a chance tonight to prove himself and he not only seized the opportunity, he played fantastic. Now, he is not someone I want starting every game, but he is someone that I want to keep on the roster as a fill in when needed.