With The Lions Vs. Colts Preseason Game In The Books, Let’s Take A Look At What We Learned.
It’s only preseason. We are all anxiously awaiting the regular season to start, and that makes it easy to put too much stock into performances in preseason games. That said, there are important things to pay attention to in the Lions Vs. Colts preseason match up.
Which players are looking ahead of the curve in terms of their development? Which players took snaps at which positions? Who is working with the first team? Who is working with the second team?
These are all important questions that will give us an idea of what the final 53 man roster will look like and what types of personnel we will see during the regular season. These are my takeaways from the Lions Vs. Colts preseason game.
Lions Vs. Colts: Offense
Stafford‘s first and only drive ended in an interception; the ball hit Marvin Jones, who had a chance to make the catch, but the pass by Stafford should have been placed better and was generally ill-advised. It isn’t anything to be concerned about. The ball was batted in the air which caused the interception. While misplaced, the pass hit the receiver and should have been caught. Stafford is fine. No need to worry here.
Lions' first possession of the preseason ends in a turnover. Stafford pass bounces off Marvin Jones.
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) August 13, 2017
Jake Rudock does not look good. His decision-making was suspect pretty much throughout his showing. He routinely threw into coverage and had to be bailed out by his receivers regularly. Rudock made a nice throw to Golladay for his second touchdown of the day. He missed a wide open receiver in the end zone, instead opting to throw a check-down to Matt Asiata while rolling left.
That said, he was accurate with the football, even if the decisions were not necessarily the best.
Kenny Golladay is going to be good. Really good. He made two fantastic contested catches on poor, ill-advised throws from Jake Rudock. Golladay’s future looks very bright. He followed those with a nice contested catch on a Rudock throw into the end zone. The hype is real. With that in mind, remember that he is a rookie. He is the third receiver on the team. He has a long way to go to be the superstar that he is being hailed as. That said, his future looks very bright. He has shown that he has all the skills to be a really good NFL wide receiver.
Kenny Golladay hype train is now a bullet train, going 300 mph back to Detroit.
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) August 13, 2017
Zenner had a nice run to open the game, but he was pretty quiet after that. He struggled in pass protection and looked lost trying to pick up the blitz. I think we know what the Lions are getting in Zenner. There is no need to worry here. Zenner will likely look like his usual self when the regular season comes around.
Rick Wagner looked strong; he was a nice pickup in the offseason. He should certainly have helped improve the right side of the offensive line this offseason. The offensive line as a whole was not impressive, but it wasn’t an area of huge concern. When Taylor Decker returns, this unit should be very solid.
Graham Glasgow had some struggles, getting beat multiple times over the course of his reps. He looked better at center than he did at guard. Unfortunately, guard is the position that he will be playing in the regular season. Last year he played much better at guard than he did at center. Hopefully, this will be the case again this year. He had some nice plays at both positions but gave up a few stops while at guard. He will need to clean this up if the Lions’ offensive line is going to be what fans are hoping it will be.
The talk of Dwayne Washington showing better vision and instincts as a runner are real. He was hitting the hole with his head up. He isn’t running into his linemen. Washington showed better patience and vision as a runner, consistently getting upfield and often creating space for himself to gain earned yards. Washington is an athletic freak. If he can hone his instincts and get better technically he can be a real asset to the team. He looked like a likely cut going into the offseason. He looked good today, and it is looking more and more likely that he makes the roster and beats out Matt Asiata.
Greg Robinson looked good in his first preseason game as a Lion. His training camp did not inspire confidence. It was terrifying at times. His preseason performance helps to calm the panic a little. He showed well, and if he plays like he did in this game, he will be able to fill in at least adequately until Taylor Decker can return to the field. There is very rarely a good solution to losing a starting left tackle. Robinson probably isn’t going to impress in the regular season. He just needs to be good enough to get by. He looked good enough today. Hopefully, that can continue.
Michael Roberts is really struggling with ball security. He fumbled multiple times. This was a problem in training camp as well. He needs to clean this up if he wants to contribute on the offense this year. If this continues to be an issue, the coaches will be hesitant to let him see the field. As has been noted many times before, he has gigantic hands. Ball security should not be an issue. It wasn’t a serious problem for him in college. Hopefully, for him, this is just an adjustment period, and he will figure it out in time.
He was out of bounds, but Michael Roberts just had the ball knocked loose again.
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) August 13, 2017
Dontez Ford had a poor start to his game. This is not good for a guy that was already unlikely to make the roster. He struggled with catching the football throughout camp, and that continued during the Lions Vs. Colts preseason game. He had a nice catch for a touchdown that helped counter some of the poor play he had to begin the game. Ford caught the ball and fought through contact to get into the end zone. He needs to make more plays like that and clean up the drops if he hopes to make the roster.
Jarred Abrederis had a game of mixed results. The former Green Bay Packer had a pass hit the ground that he probably should have caught but also had a nice play on a quick pass where he caught the ball, made a defender miss, got upfield and gained good yardage. He is still a fringe player on the roster. This game does nothing to clarify his standing with a talented wide receiver group.
Asiata did not look great in this game. He was already not a lock to make the roster, and this game did not help his case. Asiata ran into his own linemen on multiple plays and failed to create yardage for himself. He needs to improve if he hopes to make the roster.
Brad Kaaya looked like a rookie that has talent. He was accurate with the football and showed good ball placement. That said, he is still very conservative. He is not confident in the pocket. He gets happy feet and is paranoid at the first sign of pressure. Kaaya checks the ball down far too often and doesn’t push the ball down the field. Right now he is the clear third option on the depth chart. He looks more like a practice squad player than a 53-man roster player. That could change if he gets quicker and more confident in his reads.
Lions Vs. Colts: Defense
Linebackers look much improved. The opening drive saw nice plays from Antwione Williams and Jarrad Davis. Antwione Williams made some really nice plays over the course of the game showing good coverage and making a nice play behind the line of scrimmage. Jarrad Davis looked every bit the player he was drafted to be. He has shown well in camp and continues his strong play into preseason. He should be an immediate improvement for the Lions at linebacker.
Click and close from Antwione Williams. Nice tackle for minimum gain.
— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) August 13, 2017
Kerry Hyder went down with an injury early in the game. The Lions have a lot of injuries at the position and talent was already thin here. This is not good news for the Lions’ defense. The defensive line was a weak position last year that was not seriously addressed in the offseason. This was a position that the Lions could not afford to get any thinner at. The pass rush was horrendous last year, and they need to improve there this year. The Hyder injury hampers these efforts.
The cart is coming out for Hyder. Yikes.
— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) August 13, 2017
A’Shawn Robinson looks good. He appears to be playing with more functional strength and still is really good at batting down passes. He has always been a big and strong guy, but he didn’t convert that strength into pass rushing ability last year. In limited reps today, he looked like he could be a better force against the pass this year. This is going to be important for the defense, especially with the loss of Kerry Hyder.
Despite struggles in training camp, Teez Tabor had a really nice showing, sticking to receivers and showing tight coverage ability for the duration of his time on the field. He may not be ready to start right away, but he definitely has the talent to start in this league. A lot of his struggles were due to the extensive usage in press-man coverage in training camp, something that is not Teez’s strong suit. With more favorable usage, he had a solid game.
DJ Hayden had a nice game. He was tight in coverage and almost made a big play to intercept an overthrown pass. He still has issues with staying off the receiver. Hayden probably could have been flagged for pass interference on a deep pass in the end zone, but got away with the contact. It is still unclear what his role will be in Detroit this upcoming year. He can play both outside and in the slot. This game did not clarify where the Lions hope to use him.
Jamal Agnew, while not given a good chance to show off his return ability, did show well in coverage. He played tight and continues to impress and looks to have been a fantastic late round pick for Bob Quinn and the Lions. He did a nice job in run support and looks like he is going to be an asset for the Lions this year and going forward.
Rookie Jeremiah Valoaga was impressive. He had a sack and looked very good in his time in the game. He looked excellent in training camp and is seriously pushing for a roster spot at this point. Valoaga looked good in his pass rush technique and was all over the field today.
Jeremiah Valoaga AGAIN. Dude's making the roster.
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) August 13, 2017
Lions Vs. Colts: Special Teams
Kasey Redfern is a hell of a punter. He won’t make the Lions, but he will find a home somewhere. His camp was spectacular, and everything he showed in this preseason game was fantastic. Someone is going to be looking to improve their special teams and will be lucky to land Redfern.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Showed very well on special teams. This is what Bob Quinn likes to see in his players. Guys that he does not expect to start, he wants to see contribute on special teams. Reeves-Maybin showed that he is very capable in this area.
Reeves-Maybin with another special team tackle
— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) August 13, 2017
Matt Prater missed a field goal today. This is a rare occurrence. There is nothing to be concerned about here. It is unclear whether someone got a hand on it or if he just plain missed. If it was a miss, it was a really bad kick. I wouldn’t expect any prolonged struggles from the exceptional kicker.
Lions Vs. Colts: Extra Notes
The Lions were not penalized in the first half. This could have been a case of the refs just letting the teams play, or it could be a really good sign for the team. Regardless, this is either a positive or a neutral note. I’m choosing to look at this with optimism. On-the-field discipline has always been a staple of Jim Caldwell. This is a good sign.
The Lions used multiple tight ends throughout the game. This is likely going to be something that we see a lot of during the regular season.
Despite the extensive use of a fullback in training camp, there was no usage in the first preseason game. This is puzzling given the amount of time the Lions dedicated to using multiple players as a fullback during camp. This is something to watch for going forward.
My take on today: Rudock and Kaaya improved, LT isn't as shaky as we thought, we may have a d-line that can create pressure
— Brandon Knapp (@BKnappBlogs) August 13, 2017