Paws for Thought: Cobourne in, Kircus out?

With their final pre-season game on Thursday, Lions' insider Mike Fowler shares his thoughts on several hot topics regarding the Detroit Lions, including the battles between Autry Denson and Avon Cobourne, Shawn Jefferson and David Kircus, and Casey Fitzsimmons and ... Stephen Trejo? Plus, Curt Anes may not be done yet. More musing inside.

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Curt Anes: I wouldn't be surprised if Curt Anes returns to the Lions practice squad. Steve Mariucci is a smart person. He knows that if Curt Anes gets a chance to play extensively in the last preseason game, some sharp personnel man is bound to see him and take note. By releasing him early, Anes could fly through waivers with no takers, allowing Detroit to re-sign him to their practice squad.

Moves like this are what separate the Mariucci's from the Mornhinweg's of the world.

Avon Cobourne vs Autry Denson: The word is that Cobourne has already been told that he is definitely on the final 53 man roster. Is that true? Who knows but if he is, it means that Autry Denson is the odd man out. Denson has played well every chance he's gotten to get on the field, but Cobourne has a bit of an edge in the speed department. Still Denson gains yardage. Here's hoping there's a place on the roster for both of these backs.

Casey Fitzsimmons working as a fullback: The release of sixth round pick Brandon Drumm means that Stephen Trejo has made the team as the backup fullback; or does it? Fitzsimmons has steadily impressed as the tight end despite his blunder of a fumble in the 38-17 win over Cleveland. Mariucci also likes Matt Murphy enough that he wants him on the roster too. If Fitzsimmons can block well enough at fullback Thursday at Buffalo, Trejo could be the odd man out as the Lions keep four tight ends. Keep an eye on this one in Thursday's game (7:00 pm EST)

Luther Elliss for Fred Smoot: Sounds like an ideal swap, except as you know by now, it's almost dead due to cap restraints and the fact that Washington. Detroit would likely give up picks for the Mississippi State star but now Washington has acquired Lionel Dalton from Denver and Martin Chase from New Orleans so trade talks appear to be dead.

Shawn Springs: Our sources on the West Coast say this one was dead before the Lions ever came calling. They tell us that Seattle has it etched in stone not to trade Springs because they want three cover corners. So it appears Detroit will be scouring the waiver wire for a corner to support Dre' Bly and Andre Goodman.

David Kircus: If I were a betting man, I'd bet that Mariucci is going to keep Shawn Jefferson over Kircus. Jefferson is a veteran who knows how to make plays when the game is on the line. Kircus has a lot to learn. He just isn't polished enough, but he is a candidate for the practice squad.

Practice squad: Guessing again, I'd say Kircus, Anes, either Blue Adams or Gerald Dixon and two players from somebody else's roster.

Just a hunch, but the linebacking corps could contain a surprise cut, keep an eye on the final roster.

Ask Mike Fowler questions in the "Insider" message board! [GO]

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