Detroit Lions Preseason: What to Watch for vs. New York Jets
By Mark DeGain
With the Detroit Lions training camp coming into full swing on August 2nd, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the first preseason game and what to expect.
The first game of the preseason will be hosted at Ford Field against the New York Jets on Thursday, August 13th at 7:30 pm and will be aired on Fox 2.
While it is nice to see a preseason victory, keep in mind, that is not the intent on the preseason. The whole purpose is to try guys out at positions and see how they perform their job.
With the First Pick
Being the first game of the preseason, don’t expect the big name starters to play more than 1 or 2 series on either side of the ball. The team already knows what they have in players like Matthew Stafford, Golden Tate, Calvin Johnson, Darius Slay, and Ziggy Ansah. Once those series are over, look for a steady rotation in of guys who are fighting for a spot.
Look to see Tahir Whitehead, Kyle Van Noy, and John Bynes to be rotating in and out. The left side outside linebacker position could have one heck of a battle on its hands with the talent that’s stacked up there.
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There are 10 defensive ends on the roster as of right now, and I would expect to see a good amount of rotation from them as well. Most importantly to see is Tyrunn Walker. They will want to see how he can stack up in Detroit with the already potent defensive line, and I would not be shocked to see him exceed.
At cornerback, you will likely see Quandre Diggs and Alex Carter both in there to try to win a position, or at least make it past the first round of cuts.
May 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker (93) during OTA at Detroit Lions Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Then, of course, at wide receiver, there are 9 players not named Tate or Johnson who are all going to be fighting for that 3rd wide receiver position.
I would expect the first game, Dan Orlovsky would come out to relieve the signal calling duties of Stafford in the first half. Then, come sometime in the 3rd quarter, you will likely see Kellen Moore step in.
Regardless of who you want to see succeed, this will be a normal first preseason game for the team. Sure, we may want to see more out of Stafford and see the improvements he has made. But, Jim Caldwell is not about to leave his star players on that field for a game that means nothing, chancing an injury and ruining the start of the 2015 regular season.
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Now this may all seem a bit early, but there are only 3 preseason games until the first round of cuts must be made. On September 1st, 4:00 pm ET, the teams must all be cut down to 75 players. And then on September 5th, just 2 days after the final preseason game of the year, the team has to be down to its final 53.
The Detroit Lions are faced with a daunting task this year. There is talent everywhere you look and at every position. I do not envy the coaching staff this season because I know those are going to be hard cuts to make. While it is a difficult problem to have, it is also a good problem to have. It just shows how much depth is on this team.
May 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs (36) during OTA at Detroit Lions Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Now, the Jets don’t have what would be called a powerhouse team. In the offseason, they have added Brandon Marshall, who will for sure be a threat on the field for the team. But at the same time, I don’t see the Jets coaching staff putting Marshall at risk for more than a series or two either. I would expect the Detroit Lions to handily take this game, no matter what string of players is on the field.
Overall, the total score of the game means nothing except that the winning team may have better depth than the losing team. Either way, both teams will watch each player carefully in film afterwards, do the molding they need to do, and see what happens in week 2 of the preseason.
I, for one, am excited that the preseason is so close. That just means it’s that much sooner that we will be watching our Detroit Lions playing in regular season games!
Mark DeGain is a columnist for FanSided and SideLionReport.com. For continued Detroit Lions news, rumors and analysis, be sure to follow both him and SLR on twitter at @Mark_DeGain_SLR and @SideLionReport.
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