I picked five things to watch prior to last night’s Detroit Lions preseason finale. Click here to go back and read what I had to say about each of the five things before the game.
Keep reading here to find out what I have to say about those five things after the game.
1. Playing Time
Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson connected on a 39-yard pass play and that was about it. The Lions coaching staff has been pleased with their situation at quarterback and that showed in the way they handed out playing time. Shaun Hill didn’t get (need) much playing time and Drew Stanton finished out the first half while fourth-stringer Zac Robinson played the entire second half. Jerome Harrison got the bulk of the work at running back and likely parlayed that opportunity into a rock solid roster spot, if it was even in doubt.
A number of guys on the roster bubble seized the opportunity for a little more playing time to at least put out some good film. Quinn Pitcock, Robert Callaway and Paul Pratt stood out in particular.
2. Titus Young
After catching one pass a week ago, Titus Young caught two passes last night. The real progress is in the fact that he played more snaps although it is obvious that he missed time in camp. Both catches were of the shorter variety although he did have an opportunity on a more vertical route that was well defended. Lions fans should be prepared to be patient with Young as it might be mid-season before he starts contributing like we imagined on draft day.
3. Jahvid Best
He played in just one series without doing anything of note but Jahvid Best emerges from the game healthy. Fears of running him out there for a meaningless game have been relieved and Best will have an opportunity to show what kind of back he can be in the regular season. Questions remain but those regarding his health can be put on the back burner.
4. Fight for Roster Spots in the Secondary
Ricardo Silva continued to make his presence felt on defense and the fan in me would be very disappointed if he doesn’t end up on the 53-man roster. John Wendling’s value is in covering kicks and if Danny Crossman is comfortable with other candidates like Rashied Davis and Maurice Stovall, Silva could take Wendling’s spot on the roster. It is a situation to watch when final cuts are announced.
At cornerback, Paul Pratt was the player that most stood out last night. He made tackles, defended a pass and recorded a sack on a cornerback blitz. This morning’s news that Alphonso Smith could start the season on the PUP list could free up a spot for Pratt, especially since Nathan Vasher was a late scratch last night and hasn’t looked like the player we saw late in the 2010 season.
5. Punter Fight!
Ryan Donahue’s punts were effective but not beautiful. Nick Harris put one in the endzone but had the higher gross average. Both were flawless holding for Jason Hanson. The punter battle will likely come down to the team’s choice of tie-breaker: Youth or experience.