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Who Did What
Paul Wezner - LionsFans.com
The Lions ended up losing the ballgame, but that doesnt mean the game was a lost cause. 2nd year players James Hall and Larry Foster were among those who stood out in the Lions first exhibition game.
Every July, the Detroit Lions roster starts out with 80 players. Approximately half of those players already know they will be making the squad, training camp is just a formality, or possibly a competition for a starting job. However, those other 40 or so players will be fighting over the few precious spots remaining, many of whom will end up without a job come the end of August. Which is why each preseason game is so critical. Lets take a closer look at who did what:
WR Larry Foster
There was some concern coming into camp about who was going to be the backup to Desmond Howard at the return spots. Foster put those concerns to rest as he returned both a punt and a kickoff for Touchdowns. Foster also did a solid job as the starting Wide Receiver opposite Johnnie Morton. Foster now looks to have a roster spot nailed down.
DE James Hall
Undrafted rookie free agent with a slim chance of making the 53-man roster to starting Right Defensive End in one season. That is becoming a strong possibility after Halls 4-sack performance on Friday night. With Jared DeVries out until midseason and Tracy Scroggins out indefinitely, this could be Halls chance to make a serious impact for the defense.
LB Chris Claiborne
While Claiborne didnt play much, he used the time he had to make things happen. Claiborne is entering his third season and could be headed for a breakout year, especially with Vince Tobins attacking-style defense. Claiborne is still best fit for the middle, but Tobin is trying to use his Linebackers strengths to improve the defense, a definite plus for Claiborne.
RB Reuben Droughns
Droughns did well when he was given the ball on the ground, but his running ability was never questioned. If the Lions new offense wasnt so reliant on pass-catching Running Backs, Droughns would have already locked up the backup job. Now, the Lions will have to make a decision on what to do with him. Can they keep 4 Running Backs? Or will Droughns find a new home, possibly in Baltimore where hed only be asked to run the football.
RB Lamont Warren
Warren did an excellent job as the third down back, and is probably the closest of anyone to securing one of the two backup Running Back spots. Hes a veteran with some experience, and can run and catch the ball. Another solid game performance and Warren will make the team.
DT Kelvin Pritchett
Pritchett, who is currently starting in place of the injured Luther Elliss, continued to show his worth as the teams third Defensive Tackle. He brought solid pressure up the middle, and if Elliss cant make it back by Game 1, Pritchett and the recently-signed Alonzo Spellman should do a good job of filling in.
FB Stephen Trejo
Trejo continued to impress with his hard-nosed style. He blocked well, did a good job of catching the ball out of the backfield, and could very well be the leader for the backup Fullback spot. Hes also big enough where he could play Tight End, which would help the Lions because currently no one has stepped up to take that role.
CB Jimmy Wyrick
He didnt play perfect, but he outplayed UDFAs Ligarius Jennings and Chidi Iwouma. As of now, Wyrick is probably the leading candidate to nail down the last Cornerback spot, although Jennings isnt far behind.
The Not So Good
Most of the Offensive Line
With the exception of LT Jeff Backus and RT Aaron Gibson, no one played well. LG Tony Semple and C Eric Beverly had trouble inside, and RG Brendan Stai did not prove he was worth the long-term deal the Lions gave him this offseason. Matt Joyce is better suited to backup inside, but that would leave OT Ray Roberts as the only backup outside. Whatever happens, the line will have to play better to give the Lions Quarterbacks a chance.
RB Sedrick Irvin
He didnt get a chance to catch the ball out of the backfield, and he proved once again that he cant be an every down back. Hes not fast enough to outrun anyone on the field (except the Offensive Line), and he doesnt use his size to pound his way for a couple of yards. Marty Mornhinweg wants Running Backs that can catch out of the backfield, but if James Stewart goes down, Irvin and Warren are not going to give the Lions a respectable ground game.
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