Jameis Winston thought that he would be eating lots of Ws this season, but he will have to wait until at least week four while he serves a three-game suspension.
Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Friday, August 24, 8 pm est on CBS
This is the game that most point to as the real dress rehearsal for the regular season. Expect the starters for both teams to see the field for at least the first half of the game. Last season, Matthew Stafford stayed in against the Patriots until almost halfway through the third quarter. The focus will likely be off of Stafford though as this game will be a tipping point for a lot of different decisions that the Lions’ personnel department will have to make over the next couple weeks. Despite some lackluster performances to begin the preseason, there’s hope that this game will provide some clarity on the direction of the Detroit Lions for 2018.
Questions Surrounding the Detroit Lions Secondary
The secondary is arguably one of the deepest parts of this Lions team, but a few hybrid players bring into question how the team will line up for the regular season. Glover Quin and Darius Slay are locked in at FS and CB1, but with Quandre Diggs listed as the primary SS, how will Tavon Wilson and Miles Killebrew (primarily being used as a linebacker this preseason) fit into the equation? The team seems to be set on DeShawn Shead starting opposite Darius Slay at this point, with Nevin Lawson lined up in the slot. Shead has looked good thus far, but Lawson hasn’t played much slot corner in his career. It’s not a question of whether he has the size or speed to play the position, but whether or not he can stop making close but no cigar plays.
Defensive Line is Wide Open
The biggest question mark for the Lions coming into the offseason was whether or not they would use some capital to upgrade their pass rush. The results were pretty underwhelming. They added Da’Shawn Hand in the draft and signed Ricky Jean-Francois this month. Both players have been performing well, but neither is the kind of addition that will keep the Lions pass rush from being a liability. The team does not have a sack yet this preseason and just getting that first one could mean all the difference for a guy like Alex Barrett, who has looked good but is still a fringe roster candidate. Cornelius Washington was just cut, which opens a spot for another player on that defensive line. Keep an eye out for whoever gets that first sack of the preseason.
Offensive Line Depth Concerns
We are 100% certain that the offensive line starters are set for the regular season. The issue for the Lions lies with the depth that comes behind them and we have learned a lot about the importance of offensive line depth over the last couple of seasons. Matthew Stafford had only five pass attempts and was sacked multiple times against the Giants on Friday. That’s just not acceptable. Joe Dahl, Dan Skipper, Corey Robinson, Kenny Wiggins, and Wesley Johnson are all performing pretty poorly. Expect only three of these guys to make the 53 man roster and let’s hope that players like T.J. Lang can stay healthy and open up holes for what should be an improved running game. After a solid run blocking performance in preseason week 1, running lanes were few and far between last week, so they’ll be looking for a bounce back against Tampa Bay this Friday.