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Checking in on the Lions' position battles: Offense

A look at where some of the Detroit Lions' offensive position battles stand after two weeks of training camp.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

With two weeks of training camp and one preseason game in the books, let's check in on some of the Detroit Lions' position battles. First up is the offense:


Featured camp battle: Dan Orlovsky vs. Kellen Moore for the backup QB job

Other camp battles: Garrett Gilbert vs. the rest of the roster for a spot on the practice squad

Kellen Moore seems to be currently leading for the backup job after serving as the No. 2 quarterback against the New York Jets last Thursday. However, Dan Orlovsky had a better night, going 5-for-11 for 96 yards and one touchdown. Moore was 9-for-17 for 67 yards, and most importantly, he threw an interception in the end zone. This battle is currently too close to call, but Orlovsky will likely once again be the backup if we see more performances like Thursday's game.

As for Garrett Gilbert, the fact that he played 11 snaps against the Jets is a pretty notable achievement. In recent years, the Lions' fourth quarterback played very little or not at all, so the Lions are at least taking a closer look at Gilbert. It probably won't be enough to get him on the practice squad if the Lions keep three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, though.

Running back

Featured camp battle: Joique Bell vs. Ameer Abdullah for the starting RB job

Other camp battles: George Winn vs. Zach Zenner vs. Desmond Martin for the final spot at RB

Considering Joique Bell has yet to practice this year and the Ameer Abdullah hype train is officially rolling, the rookie is currently winning this camp battle by default. Bell will likely be the official starter once he's healthy, but Abdullah is going to see a lot of playing time either way.

As for the final spot at running back, it's starting to get interesting between George Winn and Zach Zenner. I feel like Winn still has the edge because of his special teams abilities, but Zenner looked more impressive with 55 yards on 13 carries against the Jets. Winn only had 3 yards on five carries. This battle will likely continue throughout the preseason.


Featured camp battle: Michael Burton vs. Emil Igwenagu for the starting FB job

Other camp battles: FB runner-up vs. No. 4 RB for a roster spot

Michael Burton and Emil Igwenagu saw a pretty equal number of reps, but Burton is pretty clearly the starter at this point. Igwenagu did play 13 snaps on special teams against the Jets, so perhaps it's not completely out of the question for him to take away a roster spot from someone at another position.

Wide receiver

Featured camp battle: Lance Moore vs. Jeremy Ross vs. Corey Fuller vs. Ryan Broyles vs. TJ Jones for the No. 3 WR job

Other camp battles: The runners-up from the featured camp battle for the No. 4 and No. 5 WR jobs

It's still way too early to sort out the various camp battles taking place at wide receiver. Jeremy Ross is seemingly still viewed as the third wide receiver by the coaches, but I continue to get the sense that Lance Moore will ultimately take over that role. Ross will likely still have a spot on the team given that he's currently the starting returner, and I can't imagine Corey Fuller is going anywhere. What that means is that there likely won't be room for Ryan Broyles or TJ Jones unless the Lions go with six receivers, and even then one of them would still be on the outside looking in.

Tight end

Featured camp battle: Joseph Fauria vs. his injured ankle

Other camp battles: Jordan Thompson vs. Casey Pierce for a spot on the practice squad

Joseph Fauria is currently losing the injury battle. He started off camp healthy, but he's been in and out of practice lately because of an injury issue. In fact, that injury kept him out of Thursday's preseason opener. Hopefully he will get back to full health before the regular season begins.

As for Jordan Thompson vs. Casey Pierce, they had a nearly identical number of snaps against the Jets, so this appears to be too close to call right now when it comes to who will earn a spot on the practice squad.

Offensive tackle

Featured camp battle: LaAdrian Waddle vs. his surgically repaired knee

Other camp battles: Michael Williams vs. Corey Robinson vs. Xavier Proctor for the No. 4 OT job

Like Bell, LaAdrian Waddle has also not practiced yet this year, but he seems to be getting closer and closer to making his 2015 debut. For now, he's not exactly winning his injury battle, but there's some optimism surrounding the possibility of him being ready to go for the regular season.

The battle between Michael Williams and Corey Robinson seems to currently be in Williams' favor given that he's received some first-team reps at right tackle during training camp. I suppose Robinson could still beat out another offensive lineman (perhaps a guard or center) to earn a spot on the 53-man roster, but it's going to be tough with the way the depth chart looks right now.

Offensive guard/center

Featured camp battles: Laken Tomlinson vs. Manny Ramirez for the starting LG jobTravis Swanson vs. Manny Ramirez for the starting C job

Other camp battles: Torrian Wilson vs. Al Bond vs. Taylor Boggs vs. Darren Keyton vs. Braxston Cave for the final interior spot

It's safe to say that Travis Swanson is the starting center. There isn't quite as much certainty at left guard, though. Manny Ramirez and Laken Tomlinson have both received first-team reps, and although Ramirez started last week against the Jets, the expectation is still for Tomlinson to eventually win that job.

As for the final interior spot (assuming the Lions keep an extra guard/center), Taylor Boggs has jumped to the front of the pack after an outstanding performance in the preseason opener. At this point, he's probably put himself on the 53-man roster with three preseason games to go.

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