WR - Charles Rogers - Rogers had 4 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown despite being double-teamed 95% of the game. His biggest catch came on a 33-yard touchdown reception over Broncos' cornerback Deltha O'Neal. Rogers out jumped and out muscled the Broncos top DB and then outran him for the final few yards to the end zone.
The feeling in the Lions' organization is that more players need to step up and make big plays in key situations.
"I'd like to think that we do (have one)," said Coach Mariucci of a playmaker. "It could be a playmaking guy like Charles Rogers breaking a tackle and scoring." "It can be anybody, but we have to be confident that somebody will make a play." Scotty Anderson caught a short pass from a pressured Joey Harrington and turned it into a 48-yard touchdown by breaking tackles, faking and outrunning opponents. Nothing against Mr. Anderson, but look for Mr. Rogers to be making that catch and run in the near future. In order for Rogers to have a major impact, other receivers must step up and either draw attention away from him or make plays when he is double-covered. Az Hakim had only 2 catches 9 yards and Bill Schroeder was blanked. Running back Shawn Bryson had 4 catches for 7 yards and the rest of the receivers only had one each.
LB - Boss Bailey - The second round pick is playing like a true rookie. He'll look great one play, and like a fool the next. In Sunday's loss, Jake Plummer scrambled out of the pocket on a bootleg, leaving Boss with the decision to cover the known-scrambler Plummer or the tight end running a 6-yard route into the flats. Boss did not fluster Plummer or cover the tight end, but rather was confused and stuck in between the two. Plummer easily completed the pass over Bailey and the Broncos offense continued their drive.
The next drive, the Broncos tried the same play to Barrett Green's side and he attacked Plummer, leaving the quarterback to make a quick, erroneous decision and the ball was thrown incomplete. Obviously, Green's veteran skills led him to making the quick decision, something Boss will pick up in time. Bailey's coverage was also a consistent. Shannon Sharpe's 7 catches for 74 yards and touchdown cannot be placed squarely on the shoulders on the youngster. After all, Sharpe is a master TE and seasoned veteran; he knows how to get open. However, Bailey did blow up a few passes to running backs and other Broncos TE Dwayne Carswell in "check down" situations. For the game, Bailey recorded 3 tackles.
LB - James Davis - Davis, first of the Lions' two fifth round picks, saw his first action of the season in Denver on special teams. He was in on 2 tackles. Davis is recovering from serious rib injuries suffered in the preseason and will likely see more playing time on special teams and perhaps in defensive situations. The Lions fell in love with him far before the draft and see a potential solid career in him.
RB - Avon Cobourne - The undrafted free agent gained 19 yards on one rush, but it was a draw-play on the last play of the first half when the Denver defense was playing a bit soft. He also returned 3 kickoffs for 57 yards, netting a 19-yard average. Look for Cobourne to return more kickoffs as the Lions do not want to risk injury to expert return men and key players Dre Bly and Az Hakim.