Lions Preseason Preview: Week 1 At Pittsburgh
By Matt Urben
The Lions finally get on the field this Friday for their first Preseason game of the year. Let’s preview the upcoming game against the Steelers.
The wait is over! Well, if you consider Preseason football to be anything other than glorified practice that is. Either way, NFL fans are only guaranteed 20 games a year and the Preseason is full of story-lines. From rookies, to big-name free agents, it’s time to see who can play.
Preseason Game 1: At Pittsburgh Steelers
Friday, August 12th: 7:00 PM
The Steelers are an immensely talented team and should be a good early barometer. However, Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger are not expected to play. This would have been a good early test for the Lions young secondary, but it will still be a good way to gel this early in training camp. Here are three things to watch for in this game.
3. Tight End Situation
Cole Wick may have a much more important role when the season begins if Eric Ebron isn’t ready for the regular season opener. As Jeff wrote yesterday, it is looking like a best-case scenario for Ebron, after it was widely speculated that he may have ruptured his Achilles tendon. Either way, a severe ankle sprain may keep Ebron on the sideline for a few weeks at minimum. Wick is an undrafted free agent and has gotten some work with the ones in the wake of Ebron’s injury. It’ll be a chance for the average fan to see Wick for the first time, as well as a chance for Wick himself to elevate his stock and secure a role on the team.
Taylor Decker will be making his hugely anticipated debut at left tackle. The Lions have been trying to rebuild their offensive line over the past few seasons and drafting Decker is the biggest move yet. Defensive tackle, A’Shawn Robinson, was a fan-favorite to be the team’s 1st-round pick and the Lions were able to grab him in the 2nd-round. While he’s not Ndamukong Suh coming out of college, he’s a very talented product of the great Nick Saban. Can he fight for a starting job? Rookie backup offensive linemen, Graham Glasgow and Joe Dahl will make their debuts and fans will get a chance to see something other than safety Miles Killebrew’s college highlights.
1. Start of Post Megatron era
This is what everyone is unquestionably waiting to see. Who takes that number-one role? Does Marvin Jones look to be a good fit in Jim Bob Cooter’s offense? Does Matthew Stafford crumble without Johnson as some have suggested? We won’t know the answers to these questions after seeing likely just a series or two out of the starters in this game. Still, fans will be dying to see what it looks like with Jones and recently signed, Anquan Boldin, taking the field for the first time as Lions. Johnson hadn’t played much in the Preseason over the past few years but that was because he was dinged up and the Lions knew what they had in him. Without Johson, it’s a mystery how the remaining receivers will be affected by his absence.
Also keep an eye on:
- HB’s Ameer Abdullah, Stevan Ridley and fan-favorite Zach Zenner.
- Starting defensive tackle depth chart battle.
- Riley Reiff on the right side.
- Who starts at corner opposite Darius Slay.
- DeAndre Levy’s status on gameday.
- Jim Bob Cooter’s offense.
- Undrafted Baylor wide receiver Jay Lee.