Every year at the final cutdowns there are players that fans can’t help but wonder why they didn’t make the team. Isaac Nauta did battle some dropsies in the preseason and P.J. Johnson is very raw, but I wouldn’t be surprised if both of them end up on the Lions practice squad, provided another team doesn’t decide to sign them.
Yet after all the moves we’ve discussed, the most surprising move to me, wasn’t a cut. It was the trade for quarterback David Blough after the Lions faced him in the preseason finale while he played for the Cleveland Browns.
Blough had played well in limited opportunities during the exhibition season and must have intrigued Quinn to acquire the former Purdue Boilermaker, in what could only be described as a move to get a young passer to develop. The question is; at what expense?
The Lions have three quarterbacks on the final 53 man roster. Matthew Stafford will, of course, be the starter. Josh Johnson won the backup job after a very solid game in Cleveland and now David Blough is the third-stringer.
Which means on a team that already has two starters, center Frank Ragnow, and middle linebacker Jarrad Davis, nursing injuries, they have one less open spot on the roster. As a matter of fact, Matt Patricia has already decided to carry nine offensive linemen which I’m sure is influenced by Ragnow’s injury.
Yet grooming a young quarterback is something Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia want and need to do. The fact that they believed there was no way they could risk trying to sign Blough in free-agency or risk it to put him on the practice squad speaks pretty loudly about not only what the Lions think of him, but what they believe other teams think of him.
So are the Lions making all the right moves? Every season there are hard decisions that have to be made and the results of those decisions tend to help determine the course the Lions will go. The goal is the playoffs and this is not a team that is devoid of talent, but there are questions about depth.
In the Lions’ ideal world, they will be a tough team that plays consistently well on both sides of the ball, makes a run to the playoffs where they get their first win since 1991 and start developing some young players on the practice squad as well as David Blough.
Is that a lot to ask for? Maybe, but at some point, if this regime is going to pan out and turn these Lions into championship contenders, they have to turn the corner. They have to find ways to win games consistently and become a force in the playoffs. Achieving that goal will be determined not only by the job Matt Patricia and his staff do on the sidelines but also by piecing together the right roster to get the job done.
There were definitely some more difficult decisions to make than in years past, but that’s a sign that the talent level is improving. It still has a ways to go, but it’s going in the right direction. Now all that’s left is for the results to show up on the field.