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Updating the Lions' position battles: Offense

With just one more preseason game to go, let's check in on position battles for the Detroit Lions' offense

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

We are less than two weeks away from the start of the Detroit Lions regular season, and mere days away from the Lions cutting down their roster to 53-players. With that in mind, let's check in on some position battles on offense.


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

At this point, Moore has to be a long-shot to win this battle. Orlovsky has been getting the second-team reps at practice and during the preseason. Moore barely had any time in last week's preseason game against the Jaguars. At this point, Moore is just battling for a roster spot. The good news for him is the Lions released Garrett Gilbert on Monday. Although Gilbert is practice squad eligible, the fact that he was released before the 53-man cut is a sign the Lions are not interested. If that is the case, Moore may stick around as a necessary emergency quarterback.

Running back

Featured camp battleJoique Bell vs. Ameer Abdullah for the starting RB job

Other camp battlesGeorge Winn vs. Zach Zenner for the final RB spot

Bell finally returned to practice this week and immediately assumed first team reps. While he may take a while to get comfortable back in the offense, every indication is that Bell will start Week 1 of the regular season.

Winn vs. Zenner will be the main event of the Lions' final preseason game. As of now, Zenner has Winn on the ropes after turning in impressive performances in all three preseason games. His game against the Jaguars may have won him a roster spot, but I'm guessing the Lions want one more good look at both players before ultimately making a decision.


Featured camp battleEmil Igwenagu vs. Michael Burton for the starting FB job

This has been a back-and-forth battle all preseason with both players getting equal reps both with the starting and the backup offenses. Burton most likely has a leg up, simply because he's a rookie with plenty of room to improve. Igwenagu has been good on special teams, but I'm not sure that will be enough to win him a spot on the team.

Wide receiver

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

Other camp battles: The runner ups from the featured camp battle for the No. 4 and No. 5 WR jobs

With Ryan Broyles out of the picture, the receiver battle is now a bit clearer. The man with most to prove right now is TJ Jones. Where Jones can really separate himself is in special teams. So far, no player has stepped up in the return game, so one good performance in a game situation may be enough to warrant a roster spot. Lance Moore appears to be safe because of his familiarity with the system, but after him all bets are off for those final two roster spots.

Tight end

Featured camp battle: Joseph Fauria vs. Tim Wright for the No. 3 TE job

A week ago, there wasn't much to report on the tight end position. Eric Ebron, Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria seemed like locks to make the roster. However, after the Lions traded for Tim Wright, it seems like Fauria's job is very much in danger. Thursday's game is going to be huge for both players, and at this point, there doesn't seem to be a clear front-runner for that final tight end position.

Offensive tackle

Featured camp battle: Corey Robinson vs. Xavier Proctor for the No. 4 OT job

After Michael Williams was traded to the New England Patriots, the Lions' backup tackle position suddenly became muddled. It appeared Williams was winning the battle over Robinson, but the Lions still deemed Williams expendable. Robinson has not been very impressive in camp or in the preseason, but I'm not so certain the Lions are comfortable with Xavier Proctor either. This is a position the Lions may go shopping for after all teams make their final cuts.

Offensive guard

Featured camp battles: Laken Tomlinson vs. Manny Ramirez for the starting LG spot, Larry Warford vs. his ankle injury

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

Laken Tomlinson has slowly improved throughout the preseason and may have won his way onto the starting roster. However, he may win the spot out of necessity depending on Larry Warford's availability Week 1. Warford hasn't seen the practice field since his ankle was rolled upon in the second preseason game. If he can't go, expect Manny Ramirez to fill in the right guard spot and Tomlinson to start on the left side.

As for the backup interior lineman position, the only player to really distance himself has been Taylor Boggs. Again, the final preseason game will be a huge chance for these depth guys to make one, lasting impression on the coaching staff before Saturday's cuts.

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