Allen Park – Going into the start of the 2002 Detroit Lions training camp, there are ten players that were on the roster last year that are on the hot seat this training camp. These ten players need to either show something new, demonstrate that they haven't lost it or hold off a younger player. The following ten players are on the hot seat and might not make it out of training camp with a roster spot come the end of August.
1. RB, Lamont Warren – Warren, who made the team last year and was back-up to James Stewart, is going to have to show a lot in training camp and pre-season. He has rookie Luke Staley and second year pro Aveion Cason who are looking to take his spot, along with long shot James Mungro an un-drafted rookie free agent. The Lions want to keep the younger players on the roster and would love for Staley and Cason to beat out Warren, this training camp and pre-season. The Lions will give Staley and Cason every opportunity to beat Warren out.
2. FB, Brock Olivo – Olivo made the team last year as a back-up fullback, but he will be battling Stephen Trejo for that spot again this season. Olivo is a stand out on special teams but the Lions can not afford to just keep a one-dimensional player.
3. G, Kerlin Blaise – Blaise wasn't able to go full strength in last years training camp because of a knee injury. Last season he only played on special teams, and this pre-season and training camp he will be pushed by younger players that want his roster spot.
4. TE, Brad Banta – Banta was the Lions longer snapper and third tight end and he made the team last season because he was a long snapper. But he did an awful job being a long snapper and made many snapping errors that cost the Lions points on field goals, and an extra point. The Lions would like to find someone that can replace him as the long snapper.
5. WR, Desmond Howard – Howard might be a surprise to some people that he is on this list, but he has a high cap number, he is older and last year wasn't as productive as the Lions would have liked him to be, as well as being injured. Howard didn't show much as a receiver last season and the Lions signed Az Hakim in the off-season as a free agent and want him to touch the ball as much as possible. There is some talk that Hakim will be used returning punts for the Lions, and maybe kick-offs. There are a lot of young players that want to make the team at the wide out position and if Howard doesn't show some magic in training and pre-season, he might be on the outside looking in.
6. WR, Larry Foster – Foster didn't step it up last season when he had a huge opportunity, and there are younger players that want his spot on the team, one player who was on the practice squad last season that will push Foster this year is Latef Grim. Grim along with 3 undrafted rookie free agents, Pierre Brown, Labrone Mitchell, and Eddie Drummond, will push Foster for that final wide receiver spot. Foster needs to show that he can run good routes, get open and not get jammed at the line of scrimmage.
7. DE, James Hall – Hall had an opportunity to have a break out season last year, and he looked like he was going to have one with his start in the first pre-season game having 3 sacks against Cincinnati. In his defense, he did have some injury problems that allowed him to play but not at full strength all the time. He had a monster game against Tampa Bay, collecting 3 sacks, but only ended the season with a total of 3-and-a-half sacks. He has some pressure for him to perform and show something special in training camp and the pre-season. Rookies Kalimba Edwards, and John Taylor will be looking to push him. The Lions also like Anthony Herron, who was in training camp as an undrafted free agent last year, then was cut and then was re-signed to the 53 man roster late in the season last year.
8. DT, Travis Kirschke – Kirschke is a solid back-up defensive tackle, but he doesn't do anything that is going to "Wow" anyone. The Lions would like to find a better player that can replace him as a back-up defensive tackle. There are three undrafted rookies free agents that have been impressive in Antwan Lake, Ken Jackson and Mike Collins. Lake has good size, raw tools and an ideal wingspan. He is a good athlete, who came to West Virginia as a tight end, then moved to defensive end and then defensive tackle. He has the ability to run from sideline-to-sideline. He is very mobile who has the ability to make plays in the open field, and can drop into coverage. Lake has a lot of upside, but he needs a lot of polish too. Jackson has good size and strength, and can make plays. Collins plays hard on every down, he has a low center of gravity and pushes the pocket well. He is not dominant, but very steady in the same mold as Kirschke.
9. DT, Kelvin Pritchett – Pritchett is an older player who has lost some of his skills, and the younger undrafted rookie free agents defensive tackles will push him for his roster spot.
10. CB, Jimmy Wyrick – Wyrick played on the Lions nickel and dime package last season and did a decent job. He also was a gunner on the special team. The Lions like their rookies, Andre Goodman and Chris Cash to go along with free agent pick up Eric Davis. The Lions have Todd Lyght and Terry Fair on the roster as well, and those two both will make the team. There is one spot left for a cornerback and it will be a battle between Wyrick, Chidi Iwuoma, and Crance Clemons for that final spot.
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