Although the Detroit Lions open their preseason against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday, they won’t be facing off against some of their best players. According to head coach Mike Tomlin, he will be resting a handful of his starters:
Mike Tomlin said Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell among those who probably won't play in Friday's preseason opener vs Lions— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) August 10, 2016
Tomlin is well within his right to bench these players, and probably should in some instances. Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell have nothing to prove in the preseason and I doubt Tomlin is worried about them being rusty. However, it’s interesting to see Bell included on this list since he’s currently facing a four-game suspension that doesn’t begin until the regular season.
This has to come as a disappointment for Lions fans, however. There are a lot of questions facing the Detroit Lions defense and we won’t get any true answers on Friday if they are facing second string players. Not to mention, it would be nice to see Antonio Brown versus Darius Slay in a game situation. But it appears we will have to wait until the two teams face off when the games matter.
Jim Caldwell has remained silent on the Lions’ strategy for player use. In last year’s opener, Matthew Stafford and most of the first-team offense (except for the offensive line) played just a single series before being pulled.
UPDATE - 2:15 p.m. ET - Add a few more players that will not be playing for the Steelers on Friday:
Don't expect to see many of the Steelers' top players Friday. Tomlin suggested Big Ben, Brown, Bell, DWill and Pouncey not likely to play.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) August 10, 2016