- The Lions drafted Gosder Cherilus in the first round this year to play right tackle, and he might be the starting right tackle before long. The Lions ran to the right consistently to test the rookie against Cincinnati, and 84 of the team's 112 yards on the ground came from the right side. Cherilus had taken some reps at left tackle iin practice last week. Cherilus played left tackle as a senior at Boston College. The Lions want him to be ready to play there in the NFL just in case. "Position flexibility is critical in this league," coach Rod Marinelli said. "If somebody goes down, somebody's got to be able to adjust."
- The Lions need flexibility all down the line with their backups. Jonathan Scott is also training at both tackles. The Lions have been looking for someone who can back up at center and guard and ideally tackle, too. They signed veteran center Andy McCollum, who can also play guard, and tackle Damion Cook, who can play all three positions. "The biggest problem right now is finding out who's going to be those guys, who's going to be that third flop tackle that can go left and right, because you're always working those numbers all the time," offensive coordinator Jim Colletto said.
- Free agent center LeCharles Bentley visited the Lions, but no signing appears imminent. "Just brought him in to see where he's at," president Matt Millen said. "The next step would be to take a physical."
- Safety Daniel Bullocks (knee), tight end Dan Campbell (elbow) and wide receiver Shaun McDonald (knee) came off the physically unable to perform list. Bullocks hadn't practiced in almost a year after suffering a torn ACL in the third exhibition last year. "At first, I had a little butterflies," Bullocks said. "I'm just excited to get back out here and work with my team. I'm tired of watching from the sideline. Now it's time to come back out here and play."
- Don't tell Buster Davis he's too short to play middle linebacker. "It's an ignorant statement," said Davis, who is 5-foot-9, the shortest player on the Lions' roster, "because if we judge people by how big they are or how they ran in the combine or whatever the case may be, this NFL wouldn't be what it is today. It's really about guys who want to play the game of football no matter what the situation is, and I'm one of those guys."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
- DE Cliff Avril has been working hard on his first two steps. He hits full speed by his third step, but he needs to get off the ball better. Avril registered his first sack of the preseason against Cincinnati.
- DT Chuck Darby has been given a break by the coaching staff lately. Some think he will be able to handle only about 15-20 snaps per game in the regular season, but the Lions' coaches think he'll be able to handle more.
- QB Drew Stanton looked drastically improved in the week of practice prior to Sunday's outing with Cincinnati, where he ran for a touchdown and tossed another.
- S Gerald Alexander has been quiet in camp and might be in danger of losing his starting job if Daniel Bullocks can return to form coming off a torn ACL.
BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Paris Lenon vs. Buster Davis vs. Jordon Dizon for MLB -- Lenon is the veteran, and this system is very demanding. But the Lions also think Lenon can move easily to the strong side and would love one of the younger players, especially Dizon, a second-round pick this year, to win the job. Don't count out Davis. His hitting was so relentless in practice one day that he ticked off quarterback Jon Kitna and started a skirmish.
OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Kevin Smith continues to get a lot of reps with the first team, and even started against Cincinnati. He enjoyed his longest run with a 16-yard scamper in the first half. Still, Tatum Bell continues to stay atop the depth chart at running back ... for now. Leigh Bodden remains behind Travis Fisher at cornerback, but that could change by Saturday's contest against Bodden's former team, the Cleveland Browns ... Devale Ellis still seems to have a hold on the fifth receiver spot, but he needs to do more as a returner than he did in the exhibition opener. Fellow WR Jon Standeford is catching up quickly with Ellis after another strong exhibition showing ... Gosder Cherilus remains behind George Foster at right tackle, but that battle has been tough to evaluate lately because Cherilus has been cross-training at left tackle in case of emergency.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: LB Buster Davis The middle linebacker competition looked like a battle between the veteran Paris Lenon and the rookie Jordon Dizon. But Buster Davis remains No. 2 on the depth chart and has made an impact in camp. Davis was a third-round pick last season, but the Cardinals cut him and he spent most of the season on the Lions' practice squad. He shed weight in the off-season and immersed himself in the Tampa Two defense, and it shows.
ROOKIE REPORT: Gosder Cherilus has taken snaps at right and left tackle over the past week, cross-training in case of emergency, not because the Lions want to move him to the left Linebacker Jordon Dizon still shows speed and instincts on the third team Running back Kevin Smith continues to push Tatum Bell for the starting job, but he hasn't won it yet.
INJURY REPORT: No major injuries. Just some minor things: fullback Jon Bradley (shoulder), safety Daniel Bullocks (knee), tight end Dan Campbell (elbow, hamstring), kicker Jason Hanson (thigh) and wide receiver Shaun McDonald (knee).
Notebook: Cherilus Could Start at RT Soon
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