Bryson to play against Oakland; more notes

Lions' running back Shawn Bryson has yet to see any playing time in the preseason. Expect that to change on Friday. More inside, including practice notes on rookie Ernie Sims, the back-up quarterback battle and more.

With first-year teammates Arlen Harris, Brian Calhoun and fellow veteran Artose Pinner securing the bulk of the carries, Lions' running back Shawn Bryson has yet to see any playing time in the preseason.

During Friday's contest at Oakland, Detroit's third preseason game, expect that to change.

Bryson might even grab the start against the Raiders, replacing starter Kevin Jones, who sat out of Tuesday's practice with a foot injury.

"He's worked all week so I think we've got a chance to get him some work; he's been working," said head coach Rod Marinelli, also stating that Jones' injury was not serious. "(Shawn) and Boss (Bailey) both - we're planning on getting both of them some work. Unless something changes at the end, that's the plan."

Bryson has impressed Detroit's coaching staff with his versatility, but because of the depth at the position, both his practice repetitions and game snaps have suffered as a result. He is still considered a lock to make the 53-man roster, especially given his three-year contract extension earlier in the year.

Marinelli reaffirmed that Bryson's lack of playing time isn't a reflection on his status with the club.

"I think he's a fine inside runner; he's a fine blocker; he's a fine catcher," said Marinelli. "He's got really good versatility in this offense. Boy, he's a tough man too -- he's a striker. It's exciting to have him here."

PRACTICE NOTES

Not just yet, DanO: Josh McCown isn't necessarily ready to relinquish the back-up quarterback position just yet. After second-year player Dan Orlovsky stormed out of the gates during the preseason, McCown responded with a strong performance against Cleveland last week -- throwing 8-of-15 for 82 yards -- despite entering the contest as the third quarterback.

"They're both whacking away at each other which is a beautiful thing to see," said Marinelli. "You couldn't ask for anything better. We'll kind of let this thing go out as the week goes and make our preparations then."

Safety Battle: Marinelli hasn't yet determined a starter at free-safety for Friday. There is a heated battle between rookie Daniel Bullocks and veteran Terrence Holt, and Bullocks -- the more aggressive and faster of the two -- seems to be gaining ground. Holt has started the previous two games.

"They're both getting time with the first group," said Marinelli. "Hopefully we'll see something this week and start sorting some of those things out."

Sims gaining accolades: After his sack against Cleveland and his overall ball awareness, rookie linebacker Ernie Sims is routinely impressing Detroit's coaching staff. Sims has received reps with the Lions' first team defense this week, and he might get his first start at outside linebacker at Oakland.

"He's really highly productive," said Marinelli. "When you watch his film, he's all over the place. He's just an instinctive guy; he brings something special to the table, I believe.

"He's a striker, a hitter and I believe he's just going to get better and better. At that position, that will-(line)backer, he's got to be a productive player."

Injury Update: Along with Jones, TE Casey FitzSimmons, OG Fred Matua, DE Cory Redding, receiver Charles Rogers, DT Shaun Rogers, RG Damien Woody and RT Rex Tucker missed practice.

The team expects Redding to return by tomorrow or Thursday, while it is likely that everyone else will miss Friday's contest. Damien Woody, Shaun and Charles Rogers are expected back early next week.


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