(ALLEN PARK) - For better or for worse the Detroit Lions saw what their first stringers will look like against a quality opponent in Saturday's 17-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
"I hate to say it, but 6-3, that's pretty good," said coach Steve Mariucci regarding the halftime score. The coach yanked most of his starters after the half and the Lions second stringers battled the Ravens starters for part of the third quarter before succumbing.
Now, the team's focus will be on keeping their key players healthy. Detroit will not likely expose their starters to more than a series of work.
That being the case, don't be surprised if Detroit starts Mike McMahon and perhaps Artose Pinner this week.
The Lions want to make sure McMahon is ready in case of an untimely injury to starter Joey Harrington. If they can get McMahon at least a series or two with the starters, it would help him to get his timing down with the first unit and build confidence if he has to play for extended periods of time.
Pinner also could get a longer look. He played well against the Ravens and it would at least give lip service to the thought of a competition for the starting running back position that has been all but secured by Kevin Jones.
Detroit was happy to see Roy Williams get three catches vs. the tough Ravens defense. The icing on the cake was watching the 6-foot-2 Williams shake Baltimore all-pro Ray Lewis.
"I knew that he was somewhere in the vicinity because I had to sit down between two linebackers and I knew he was one of them. My feet just did something they've never done before," joked Williams.
"Everybody respects Ray Lewis and I'll always remember that. My first catch was in Baltimore and I eluded Ray Lewis.
"He's the man. I will always remember that, my first catch was in Baltimore and I eluded Ray Lewis. That's my story for my kids, my grandkids and everybody else."
Many of the training camp battles have been settled, but watch out for the starting safety battle between Terrence Holt and Brian Walker. Holt could still unseat Walker. Holt's mixture of speed and range has impressed everyone, but even if he doesn't win the starting job, he'll get extended playing time once the season starts.
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