While an exhibition win over the defending Super Bowl champion certainly won't the team's collective morale, it might hold more value to the individuals who are fighting for a spot on Detroit's roster -- and in some cases, a career in the National Football League. Considering Lions' head coach Rod Marinelli's obsession with the "tape" is almost religious, it is vital for these players to show up on-screen. Here are some names that stood out (in some ways more than others) in Thursday's 13-10 victory.
Leon Joe - He's on his sixth team in his fourth year in the league, so Joe -- a former Bears' fourth round pick (Maryland) -- wouldn't mind finding a place to call home. The outside linebacker helped himself immensely on Thursday, collecting a game-high six tackles and simply flew around the football field. On a team where the linebacker competition is intense, Joe did himself no disservice by being the defensive player of the game.
Drew Stanton didn't Wow anyone with his arm
but reminded everyone that he has legs.
Getty Images/Dominic Centofani
Drew Stanton - After spending last year on IR, the virtual rookie twas timid with the pigskin, completing 6-of-7 passes for 27 yards. However, Stanton's legs (former Michigan State coach John L. Smith once called him "Michael Vick with a broken leg" -- which in hindsight is probably a bad comparison) carried him to 26 yards on six scramble attempts. On one play, Stanton dove an extra three yards to collect a first-down. Reminding Green and White fans of his previous Spartan heroics, he single-handedly put Detroit in field goal position that would ultimately decide the game.
Cliff Avril - You won't find the rookie defensive end's name anywhere in the box score, but you might find it across Marinelli's smile after reviewing the game tape. Avril had several pressures in extended playing time, showing great speed around the edge. It's only a matter of time before he'll reach his target.
Artose Pinner - Has been virtually forgotten about since he was acquired in February in free-agency. The former Lion-turned-Viking-turned Lion ran hard late in the game, gathering 14 yards on four carries, but it was his punishing style that reminded fans and coaches alike why he is still in the league. The Lions have their options of scatbacks in Bell, Smith and Calhoun, but Pinner could earn a roster spot (ousting Calhoun, perhaps) simply by bringing a change-of-pace. His only hiccup was a reversed fumble, which may or may not have actually been a turnover.
Buster Davis - He had four tackles, but like Joe, was everywhere on the field. The only problem with Davis is whether or not he's versatile enough to drop back in pass coverage (important in the Tampa-2 defense), but he had a nose for the football against New York.
Greg Blue - Came onto the scene late in 2007, and really turned heads with some strong performances while replacing an injured Kenoy Kennedy. Still, Blue has competition in the defensive backfield and could be a numbers victim when the team starts to trim towards 53. He came up with three tackles including a sack, demonstrating that knack for being around the ball.
Dovonte Edwards - Did not help himself on Thursday. Edwards had five tackles, and that was because Carr and the Giants found the weakness in Detroit's secondary -- him. Edwards was burned by former Lion Craphonso Thorpe for the Giants' only touchdown, in which he afforded Thorpe a large cushion in the red zone.
Shaun Cody - Cody is supposed to be a veteran by now, but made a rookie mistake -- in an exhibition game -- with a neutral zone infraction. Simply put, Cody's mistake allowance is empty, and his play was less than desirable. Detroit might indeed keep nine defensive linemen, but Cody isn't guaranteed anything.
Ikaika Alama-Francis - Alama-Francis was a second-round pick a year ago, and an athletic freak (6'5, 280), but he assisted on just one tackle and disappeared against the Giants. Again, he's a "project" of Marinelli's, but in a game where other individuals made plays, Alama-Francis seemed lost.