As the Detroit Lions prepare to take on the Buffalo Bills Thursday night in their third preseason matchup, here are five players we’ll be watching intently.
We all know that preseason games don’t really matter. Their outcome has no impact on the regular season outside of injuries and their existence is used more for evaluation of roster depth rather than a forecast a team’s immediate future.
Still, for some players currently on the Detroit Lions‘ bloated 90-man roster, the preseason can be the deciding factor as to whether their NFL dreams come true or not. With the Lions forced to cut down their roster to just 53-men in just over a week, futures will be decided in the coming days.
With the Lions’ third preseason game scheduled for Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills, here are five players we’ll be watching intently as their NFL futures could be on-the-line.
David Fales, QB
After a disastrous first preseason game where he completed just 5 of his 14 passes for 62 yards and an interception while being sacked six times by the New England Patriots, Fales bounced back against the Houston Texans last weekend. Outshining the newly signed Josh Johnson, Fales completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 226 yards and a score in H-Town. The sixth-year passer might establish himself as the legitimate candidate for the primary backup role to Matthew Stafford with another stellar performance.
Thought to be a possible roster bubble candidate this season due to his lack of size (6-0, 233), the former fourth-rounder has played lights out in the Lions’ two preseason contests, racking up a total of seven tackles, one tackle for loss, and one pass defend. A similar standout performance against the Bills should only cement his place on Detroit’s final roster forcing head coach Matt Patricia to carve out a role for him.
Miles Killebrew, LB
Yet another defender many believed was on the roster bubble, Killebrew has once again proven his worth in the preseason. Recording a total of 11 tackles and two tackles for loss over the Lions’ first two preseason games, Killebrew has proven to be a reliable defender the Lions should not part ways with.
Chris Lacy, WR
Following the severe leg injury suffered by Jermaine Kearse in the Lions’ preseason opener against the Patriots, Chris Lacy has appeared to be in-line to secure the fourth wide receiver spot on the final depth chart in Detroit. Ironically, Lacy was claimed off waivers from the Pats last May. He was on the practice squad helping out on the scout team for most of last season and is now set to contribute as a primary backup on the active roster. As Lacy’s only recorded two catches for 18 yards so far this preseason, a breakout performance could win him the role outright.
Mitchell Loewen, DE
With so many defensive linemen sidelined due to needed conditioning or injuries, this is a perfect opportunity for a young player to step up and earn themselves a spot on the final 53. Mitchell Loewen could be the one to do it. The third-year pro spent his first two seasons with the New Orleans Saints before finding his way to the Motor City. The 26-year old has flashed potential as a disruptor but likely needs a strong preseason performance in the Lions’ final two exhibitions to prove he belongs.