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Justin Vanfulpen - LionsFans.com
With the pre-season finally completed, Lions' insider Justin VanFulpen looks at each position on the Detroit Lions:
Charlie Batch had 3 good games and one bad game, he didn't throw an interception and had over a 60 percent completion percentage. But he took too many sacks because he held on to the ball too long sometimes. The Lions will put in the full game plan this upcoming week and script the first 15 plays of ever game to help the offense get in a rhythm. Jim Harbaugh is number two, there where some rumors that Ty Detmer was going to be brought in but nothing ever came of that, and Harbaugh should be there for the remainder of the season backing-up Batch. Rookie Mike McMahon has been impressive at times in the pre-season but will sit back and watch this season and could possibly push for the back-up job next season if not push Batch for the starting job.
James Stewart showed against Tennessee that he is ready to go averaging 5 yards a carrier on 6 runs. Lamont Warren will be the Lions back-up running back to Stewart and has shown that he can both run the ball and catch the ball effectively. Sedrick Irvin final two games where very good until he went down with an injury, so the Lions will have to see what effect that will have on him. Reuben Droughns runs the ball very hard but really hasn't shown that much flash, depending on what Irvin's condition is and who is released from other teams, Droughns could make the team or be cut. There has been some talk that if the 49er release Garrison Hearst who is coming off a two year absence because of an ankle injury that the Lions would seriously think about picking him up.
Cory Schlesinger is the starter and an excellent lead blocker. Now there is a talk about the Lions keeping both Stephen Trejo and Brock Olivo. Using Trejo has an H-back something they did do in their last pre-season game. The Lions like Olivo ability of special teams and if they only keep one of these two players it would be Olivo.
Johnnie Morton has shown the most in the pre-season but both Herman Moore and Germane Crowell played in Thursday game against Tennessee. Larry Foster showed in the first pre-season game that when he gets his hands on the ball he can be a playmaker but he will be out around 2 more weeks with a strained Achilles'. Scotty Anderson has had some up and down moments in the pre-season, but will make the team and will be the Lions number four wide receiver at Green Bay because most likely Foster will be out. Desmond Howard didn't do much returning kicks in the pre-season but the Pro-Bowler will be returning them when the regular season hits. Howard will have a few special play in the game plan each week in the passing game.
David Sloan played in his first pre-season game against Tennessee, and will be ready when September 9 hits. Pete Mitchell will show in the regular season why the Lions brought him in as their number two tight end. The Lions are looking for a third tight end that can block, as well as catch the ball if need be. Brad Banta is on the roster because he is the longsnapper for both punts and placement kicks, but won't see anytime at the tight end spot.
Stockar McDougle played in the final two pre-season games and regained his starting job, from Tony Semple. First round draft pick Jeff Backus has looked solid in the pre-season but will need to pick it up in the regular season. Aaron Gibson missed the last pre-season game with a concussion, but will be ready to go against Green Bay. Guard Brenden Stai has been solid this whole pre-season. The starting offense line is round out with Eric Beverly at center and he has shown this pre-season that he is capable of holding that job. Rookie Dominic Raiola is a solid back-up center. The Lions lack a little bit of depth on the offensive line but Matt Joyce did step it up and played decent and started against Tennessee. Kerlin Blaise was looking good at both the back-up guard and tackle spot before he went down with a knee injury. Andy Vincent, who last season made the practice squad had a good training camp and has looked well in the pre-season. The Lions just signed Robert Hicks but he didn't look good in the final pre-season game. Josh Lovelady has look decent but good enough to make the team? That is the question.
Robert Porcher looks like he is going to return to his Pro-Bowl form this season after having a horrible season last year. James Hall look awesome in the first game but has tailed off and left the game against Tennessee with a hamstring injury. Alonzo Spellman is finally getting in to football shape and has been playing well. Tracy Scroggins has only played in one pre-season game because of problems with his knees. Luther Elliss didn't play in the pre-season but is expect to start against Green Bay. James Jones will start along side Elliss in Green Bay, but the Lions will be rotating defensive linemen. One player that will help in the rotation is Shawn Rogers who played in the finally two pre-season games and played well. Kelvin Pritchett started all the games in the pre-season and played his best football he has played in years. There is some talking about keeping Travis Kirschke on the roster because he is a solid inside player. Defensive end Jared DeVries won't be back until the sixth game of the season because of a blood clot that he need surgery to repair.
The starting linebackers have been solid this pre-season in Stephen Boyd, Chris Claiborne and Allen Aldridge. Barrett Green only played in two pre-season games because on injuries but in those two games showed he could be a very good player. Scott Kowalkowski still shows that he is a valuable back and a very good special team's player as well. Rookie Jason Glenn showed more in the regular defense then Clint Kriewaldt did but Kriewaldt showed more on special teams. The Lions are talking about only keeping 6 linebackers and that means that one of those players is most likely to get cut.
Bryant Westbrook should be back soon, but it might not be against Green Bay, there is a slight chance that he could be back then but it is not likely. Terry Fair is a dependable cornerback and can make plays when he gets his hands on the ball and say he physical feels the best since when he was a rookie. Todd Lyght has done a nice job this pre-season and will be a great nickel cornerback when Westbrook gets fully healed. Robert Bailey left the game against Tennessee with an injured ankle, but should be back by the time the Lions go to Green Bay. Jimmy Wyrick looks like he will make the team as the Lions fifth cornerback. There are two un-drafted rookie free agent that have look very good in training camp and the pre-season and they both have a shot at making the team. Lagarius Jennings a smaller cornerback from Tennessee State and Chidi Iwuoma from California, both have shown good play on special teams as well as on defense.
The starting safeties both didn't not play in the final pre-season game but both Kurt Schulz and Ron Rice should start in Green Bay. The Lions have moved Lamar Campbell to safety and he will be a back up as well as a starting linebacker on nickel package. Depth is a problem and Lions might end up signing Mark Carrier before the season starts to give them some more depth. Un-drafted rookie free-agent Eugene Clinton from Mississippi State has a shot at making the team or the practice squad.