Rookie Report: Week 5

LionsFans.com analyst Nick West breaks down the rookie performances from Week 5.

WR - Charles Rogers - Rogers had early game jitters and dropped a few passes.  His first catch of the game came on a 21-yard end around and pass from fellow receiver Az Zahir Hakim.  He ended up with 4 catches for 51 yards, but was thrown to 15 times by quarterback Joey Harrington

Some blame can be put on Rogers for Harrington's second interception of the game on a fourth and 2 situation.  Harrington stared at Rogers, pump faked, Rogers stopped on the pump and was supposed to streak up field after freezing his defender, but cut the route short, leading to Harrington's overthrow and an interception by Niners safety Tony Parrish.  After breaking down the tape, one could make the argument that the ball was not catchable and if Rogers would have made a valiant effort for a catch, would of have been leveled by Parrish.

Rogers made a nice first down catch in a Lions' drive capped by a Harrington to tight end Mikhael Ricks touchdown pass.

LB - Boss Bailey - Early in the game, quarterback Jeff Garcia was lead blocking for running back Garrison Hearst and was able to take down the initial Lions defender.  That defender was Boss Bailey.  To be lead blocked and taken down by a quarterback is embarrassing for a linebacker, and Boss let Garcia know it later in the game.

On a second and long, Garcia scrambled out of the pocket and appeared to have the first down and more, when a blur of Honolulu blue flew into the picture and drilled a diving Garcia.  Bailey came from a 10-yard downfield coverage on a tight end to make the tackle and stop Garcia's attempt at a first down.  To note, Garcia was very slow getting up.

Boss is still out of position too much.  He can be blamed for a few Garcia bootleg scampers, especially the first quarter touchdown run and late fourth quarter run that sealed the Niners' victory.  He bit on a few fakes and let some blockers get into his body, not allowing him to make a play on Garcia. Boss recorded 6 tackles in the Lions' loss.

TE - Casey Fitzsimmons - The Division 3 undrafted free agent rookie has made some noise thus far into the season.  On Sunday, he only caught 2 passes for 22 yards, but both were integral to Lions' drives.

The first was a 12-yard, first down reception that kept a Lions' drive moving in Niners' territory. The second was a 10-yarder down to the Niners' two-yard line, leading to an Olandis Gary touchdown run the next play.

The much-maligned Mikhael Ricks had a breakout game against the Niners with 4 catches for 76 yards and touchdown.  Much of his play can be attributed to the notion of having a D-3 undrafted rookie breathing down his neck for playing time.

RB - Avon Cobourne - For the second week in a row, Cobourne struggled as a kickoff return man.  He only recorded a 16.6 average on 4 returns. The Lions' have been using him as a lynchpin until return specialist Eddie Drummond can be nursed back to health.  However, Cobourne's lack of performance may lead to his demise and the Lions may be scouring the market for a true return man. If Cobourne continues his poor play, he will likely lose his roster spot to Artose Pinner when the fourth round pick running back comes off of the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.


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