Aug 29, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Zach Brown (35) is tackled by Detroit Lions cornerback Bill Bentley (28) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions Preseason: Who To Watch Against Bills

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The Detroit Lions are just weeks away from their home opener on Monday night football, but first they need to wrap up the preseason. Tonight they’ll meet former head coach Jim Schwartz and the Bills, who they will see again in week five of the regular season.

Last week,we narrowed down our list of player to watch to seven players. This week, we are going to narrow our list down to one player from each side of the football plus one honorable mention since most positions on the roster solidified.

Offense

Ryan Broyles

Despite Broyles’ awesome preseason, his roster spot is far from secure – specifically because of his injury history. However, another solid performance or even an OK performance would probably be enough to at least guarantee a roster spot.

Without knowing exactly what is going to happen against the Bills, at this point, Broyles has done enough to not only garner a roster spot, but he looks like the apparent number three receiver the Lions have been looking for.

Defense

Tahir Whitehead

Remember when Kyle Van Noy was the favorite to replace Ashlee Palmer as the starting outside linebacker?

Things can change so quickly in the NFL and a door has been opened for Whitehead thanks to a so-so offseason from Palmer and a potential lengthy injury to KVN.

Last week Whitehead showed off his athleticism to the tune of three sacks and displayed good instincts and cover skills. I don’t typically put much stalk into one performance, especially in preseason, but Whitehead has certainly earned the right to a longer look at outside linebacker and could potentially find himself in a starting role.

Special Teams

Nate Freese

The seventh round pick from Boston College is officially the Lions kicker after the release of Giorgio Tavecchio. I’m not sure about the level of confidence the coaching staff has in Freese, but from my standpoint, there are more questions than answers about Freese as the team’s week one kicker.

Those questions likely won’t be answered in one preseason game, but nailing all of his extra point attempts and knocking down the easier field goals would be a good start.

Honorable Mention

LaAdrian Waddle

How can I only list one player at each side of the ball when there is a positional battle still up for grabs that is just as important as any battle? The Lions still don’t have a starter at right tackle, but my gut feeling is that Waddle wins the job.

I’d expect to see Waddle and Hillard split reps in the first two quarters to give the coaching staff one last look at game action before the season opener against the Giants.

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Tags: Detroit Lions Nate Freese Ryan Broyles Tahir Whitehead

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