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Lions name leader in battle for starting LOLB job

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One player is pulling away from the pack in the battle for the starting job at left outside linebacker.

USA TODAY Sports

We're halfway through the preseason, but many spots in the starting lineup and on the roster in general are still up for grabs. The Detroit Lions haven't yet named a starting right guard or right tackle, for example, nor have they made a decision on a permanent starter at right cornerback. Spots at wide receiver are also up in the air as we head into the latter half of the 2013 preseason.

One spot that doesn't appear to be up for grabs at this point is at left outside linebacker. Ashlee Palmer came into training camp as the favorite to start, and Jim Schwartz declared him the leader to win the position battle on Tuesday. From MLive:

"I don't know if that race is over yet, but he has certainly taken the lead," Schwartz said. "He's been consistent through training camp. He's made plays in preseason games. He's played physical."

Schwartz won't say it, but I will: Palmer has won this position battle. Unless he gets hurt, he should be the Lions' starting left outside linebacker when the regular season opens. He has been the best player at this position, as outlined by Jeremy Reisman earlier this week. Tahir Whitehead put up a decent challenge, and Travis Lewis got a shot as well, but Palmer is clearly the man for the LOLB job.

This news isn't exactly surprising, and I'm really much more interested in finding out who will start on the right side of the offensive line. It's a bit concerning that nobody has really emerged at either position on the right side of the line yet. My hope is that by the end of Thursday's game, it'll become clear who should start and the Lions' Week 1 lineup will begin to take shape.

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