These Three Position Battles Are Something To Watch For During This Year’s Training Camp.
Football is finally just around the corner and one of the biggest things to get excited about is training camp. This is where jobs are won and lost and where players can step up to get playing time during the preseason, hoping to make the 53-man roster come late August. While these three may not be the biggest position battles to pay attention to, they are something to look at as it could affect the team in the long run. Position battles are the most fun part of training camp and preseason.
Position Battles To Watch #1: Nevin Lawson vs. Teez Tabor
This should be an interesting battle. While it is most likely that cornerback Nevin Lawson will continue being the number two cornerback on the roster, second-year corner Teez Tabor could challenge Lawson for that role.
Tabor was given more playing time near the end of last season, and while he wasn’t blowing away the coaches, he did well overall and should see more playing time this year. While cornerback Quandre Diggs is the most effective at slot corner and can also play safety if needed, he could also be in contention for the same role.
Why I don’t have him in this fight at training camp is because of again, his strength at the slot corner spot is too good and Lawson has struggled to cover the slot, so switching the two doesn’t seem like the best move. Tabor is the only cornerback on the team that could challenge Lawson for the number two role and this is his time to prove it.
Position Battles To Watch #2: Kerry Hyder Jr. vs. Anthony Zettel
The image above is the last time we saw defensive end Kerry Hyder play for Detroit. Coming off an impressive eight-sack season, considering he only played in one game beforehand, Hyder was set to do well in 2017. Sadly with him tearing his Achilles in the first preseason game of the year, he wouldn’t see the time of day.
In came the former sixth-round pick from Penn State, defensive end Anthony Zettel, and he started in Hyder’s spot and impressed with six and a half sacks. Zettel was playing at a high level and luckily the Lions weren’t at a weakness on that side of the line.
Training camp this year now will pit these two against each other. Ziggy Ansah is on the PUP list and most likely won’t practice at training camp or play in the preseason, but will be good to go come week one. So they won’t be starting on each side of the defensive line, they will be fighting for the opposite side of Ansah. Most position battles are between a veteran and a younger player, or two young players or vets trying to start, but this one is different – the former starting player returning to compete against somebody who did well in his place.
Position Battles To Watch #3: Jake Rudock vs. Matt Cassel
Backup quarterback Jake Rudock has had an interesting ride in Detroit. He competed with veteran quarterback Dan Orlovsky and lost, landing on the practice squad in 2016, eventually getting called up to avoid getting taken by the Chicago Bears. He would force the Lions to want to move on from Orlovsky and defeat rookie quarterback Brad Kaaya and be the lone backup last year.
In comes veteran quarterback Matt Cassel. Cassel did well in New England where he led the Patriots to the playoffs in place of the injured Tom Brady but struggled wherever else he went, besides one season. A 26-40 record as a starting quarterback Cassel’s starting days are over and is looking to be a backup elsewhere.
Of all the position battles that go on, quarterback is the most fun to watch and this one will be interesting. Some believe Cassel was only brought in to test Rudock, with no intention to put him on the 53-man roster, while others believe he was actually brought in to try and take Rudock out and give the Lions a better option if starting quarterback Matt Stafford goes down.