The Detroit Lions hosted their annual mock game at Ford Field on Saturday and there was a pretty good turnout of 26,783 fans in attendance. Before the start of the game, Lions president Rod Wood grabbed the microphone and addressed the fans, speaking on the improved fan experience at the stadium.
The new video boards looked amazing, and I was finally able to actually use my phone for once with the improved WiFi. Kudos to you, Mr. Wood. You’re doing a fantastic job.
But let’s turn our focus to the players, who were able to showcase their skills as the Lions did their best to emulate a real game scenario for fans.
Here are my winners and losers from Saturday’s mock game.
Winner - Jeremiah Valoaga
Nobody had a better day than Valoaga, who only just started practicing after being removed from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Friday.
Valoaga was constantly getting under the pads of offensive linemen and absolutely manhandling them, which resulted in multiple sacks (referees were blowing the whistle once the ball carrier/quarterback was touched). Prior to today, Valoaga was a long shot to make the roster, but he’s made a strong case in just two days of work.
Loser - Cyrus Kouandjio/Greg Robinson
Both Kouandjio and Robinson rotated as the first-team left tackle and while both started things off with a decent drive or two, things took a disastrous turn for them once the defensive line started to heat up.
Cyrus Kouandjio blown up again, this time by Jordan Hills. Yikes.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) August 5, 2017
LT Greg Robinson has gotten beat several times today already. No bueno.— Michael Stets (@Michael_Stets) August 5, 2017
Things are going as expected for the two favorites battling it out for the starting left tackle spot. Neither guy has really shown any consistency throughout camp, and I expect some more ups and downs as we inch closer to preseason action.
Winner - Jamal Agnew
Agnew’s 4.34 speed was on full display today. The very first time he touched the ball, he took it to the house for an 82-yard punt return touchdown. After one week of training camp, I believe Agnew is the odds-on favorite to win the punt return specialist job.
Fifth-round pick Jamal Agnew is turning heads at Lions camp and could help solidify the secondary pic.twitter.com/iYPKnjaRWO— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 5, 2017
[Jon Gruden voice]
I tell ya. This kid is really something, man.
Loser - Anthony Zettel
I mentioned that Greg Robinson and Cyrus Kouandjio had a decent start to the mock game, and that’s because they had a fairly easy time shutting down Anthony Zettel who had lined up primarily as the right defensive end to start the game against the first-team offense. Not only did Zettel fail to produce, but many other D-linemen stepped it up when Zettel couldn’t.
Zettel is still having a pretty positive camp overall thus far, so hopefully for his sake, Saturday was just an off day for him.
Winner - Jared Abbrederis
Abbrederis is really, really impressing me lately after a slow start to camp. He’s shown that he’s been able to run crisp routes and absolutely has Teez Tabor’s number any time they line up across from each other. Though Tabor did an okay job in coverage against Abbrederis and was able to stick with him on almost every play, he still gave up three catches on three targets, all in a row.
Currently, Abbrederis is likely battling it out with TJ Jones, Jace Billingsley and Keshawn Martin for that fourth receiver spot right now.
Loser - Brad Kaaya
By no means did Jake Rudock look like an all-star, and by no means was Brad Kaaya absolutely horrible on Saturday, but he certainly did not further his case to backup Matthew Stafford, and he only saw action during the fourth quarter of the game once the Lions decided to pull most of their starters and some second-stringers.
It’s all but a guarantee that Rudock will win the backup QB job, and at this point, I’d bet that Kaaya will be cut and placed on the practice squad.
Winner - Cole Wick
During Friday’s open practice, it looked like Wick may have suffered an injury and was being tended to on the sideline at the end of practice, so being available for Saturday’s mock game is a big positive in itself for a guy who is on the bubble.
Wick also looked great as a blocker, which is something we’re not used to seeing from him. On one play, he carried out a second-level block to free up some extra room for Ameer Abdullah who carried the ball for a nice gain.
Loser - Des Lawrence
You really hate to see anyone go down at any time, but it’s even worse when someone fighting for a roster spot, and perhaps their livelihood, suffers an unfortunate injury during training camp.
Lions reserve cornerback Des Lawrence being carted off on the sideline. Not sure what happened to him but has his left shoe off.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) August 5, 2017
Here’s hoping to a speedy recovery for Lawrence.