For a month, coach Steve Mariucci couldn't get any of his running back candidates to step up and make a claim for the backup role behind James Stewart, and now he has more than he probably can keep.
The final decision on who will stay and who will go probably will go down to the final day of cuts on Aug. 31, with Shawn Bryson, Avon Cobourne and Autry Denson leading the way but Luke Staley not entirely out of the picture.
Cobourne, an undrafted rookie from West Virginia, was perhaps the most impressive with 49 yards on seven rushes and two receptions for 18 yards against Cleveland's second defense.
Bryson, who is coming off a knee injury last year in Buffalo, gained only two yards in four carries in his first game of the season Saturday against Cleveland, but he also caught three passes for 26 yards.
Bryson demonstrated the soft hands that made him an attractive free-agent, including occasional outbursts of speed.
Denson, the journeyman tailback and former Notre Dame standout, took advantage of his
time in the backfield Saturday, rushing for 77 yards on 8 carries including a 37-yard
touchdown run for a nightcap.
Denson is in the middle of the heavily competitive running back battle, but may have an edge. Besides his terrific running, which may have overshadowed Cobourne's performance, his experience cannot be overlooked. In addition, Denson is not eligible for the team's 5-player practice squad because of his accrued NFL experience. Cobourne, meanwhile, is eligible, along with Staley.
Scotty Anderson, a third-year player from Grambling, continued his strong push for the No. 4 receiver job behind Charles Rogers, Bill Schroeder and Az-Zahir Hakim. Anderson had just three receptions against the Browns, but they were for 72 yards and two were for touchdowns. The other was a 36-yard gain on a bullet pass from Joey Harrington into heavy traffic in the middle of the field, setting up a field goal in the final two seconds of the first half.
Rogers, meanwhile continued his solid play in just his second contest. The No. 2 overall pick tallied 4 receptions for 52 yards, including a 26-yard reception from a nimble Harrington. Rogers utilized his speed, and didn't show any hesitation going over the middle.
FEELING A LITTLE "BLUE"
Lions' cornerback Danny
"Blue" Adams will also be on the bubble as the Lions' coaching staff
determines what 15 players will be cut on Tuesday. The Lions must trim their current
80-man roster down to 65.
Adams stated his case on the field during Saturday's win over the Cleveland Browns, deflecting two passes (one leading to a Lamar Campbell interception), and picking off a Josh Booty pass late in the fourth-quarter. He also had three tackles.
The Ford Field crowd also pushed for the seventh-round pick, chanting "BLUE"
whenever he was involved in a play.
Adams was given ample onfield time, as much as any Lions' defensive back, but did not get burned as he was last week by Bengals' rookie quarterback Carson Palmer.
CB Chris Cash will miss the entire season after suffering a torn MCL. He will likely be replaced on the depth chart by veteran Chris Watson or fellow second-year man Andre' Goodman. Detroit might also look to pick-up cornerback help on the waiver wire, or via trade. Rookie LB James Davis will undergo a tests on Monday to determine the extent of a chest injury he suffered during the game. He is listed as day-to-day.