The most exciting part about the preseason is getting a first look at your team's new players. We all know we shouldn't jump to conclusions, but we can't help ourselves. We need the instant gratification. We need to know that our team is trending up, and we're confident we can draw those conclusions based on a handful of snaps against mediocre competition. With that in mind, let's take a look at how the future of the Detroit Lions looked on Thursday against the New York Jets.
Tomlinson took a backseat to Manny Ramirez and didn't see the field until the first-team offense was done for the day. However, after that, the Lions got a good look at Tomlinson. He was on the field for 56 snaps (73% of the time). The results were mixed. At times, Tomlinson looked very much like a rookie. Below, watch Tomlinson (left guard) head to the second level and just assume his strength will knock the linebacker off course.
That's not going to cut it at this level. He needs to get there quicker and engage in the block, rather than just give him one blow. Throughout the game, he struggled a bit at the second level.
However, Tomlinson was good at pass protection, being mostly invisible, which is a compliment in the offensive-line world.
I don't have words. Just GIFs.
I can't wait to see more of this kid.
Carter did not play in this game, as he is still battling an ankle injury.
Wright did not draw any headlines with his play on Thursday, despite racking up 22 defensive snaps (50% of total snaps). Wright mostly played in the second and third quarters. He did make the stat sheet with one assisted tackle, but his performance was overall underwhelming. He rarely got any penetration into the backfield and was often manhandled, as seen below (look directly under the circled Tahir Whitehead):
Burton split time with the Lions' only other fullback on the roster, Emil Igwenagu. Burton saw 17 snaps, while Igwenagu participated in 16. Burton actually saw the field with the first-string offense, albeit one snap. But that is a pretty good sign that Detroit has confidence in him, although it's worth noting that the Lions switched between the two all game.
Neither Burton nor Igwenagu really had any notable plays during the game. This is a camp battle that has yet to be won or lost.
It was a very quiet night for almost everyone in the secondary. The Jets only tallied 66 passing yards all night. Diggs was on the field for only 14 snaps, and while he was credited with a pass defended, there's not a lot we can break down from his performance with such a small sample size and such lowly opponents.
Of all rookies, Robinson actually saw the field the most. His 59 offensive snaps were second-most on the team. He was slotted at left tackle for most of the game and his size (6-foot-7) and strength were enough to dominate pretty much anyone he lined up against. Here he is tossing an off-balance defensive tackle:
You don't want to read too much into his first performance, especially considering he went against second- and third-string guys, but it was still a pretty impressive debut from Robinson.
Of all the undrafted rookies, the two who stood out the most were kicker Kyle Brindza and running back Zach Zenner. Brindza was good from 41 and 49 yards and also booted four touchbacks on kickoff duty. He won't be the Lions' kicker this year, but he put some good film of himself out there for another team to potentially swipe him up.
Zenner was also impressive in his debut, gaining 55 yards on 13 carries and looking confident while doing so. He still has an uphill battle to win a roster spot in Detroit's crowded backfield, but he's off to a good start.