Now that postseason stakes are completely off the table and more Detroit Lions players have seen their season ended early due to an injury, it’s time to really start thinking about 2019.
Some people may mistakenly say there’s nothing left for these players to play for in 2018, but nothing could be further from the truth. Now is when coaches and front office executives will really be paying attention to some of these players. In a few weeks, general managers will decide which players to give a futures contract to, and their performance over the next couple of weeks may be the deciding factor for players like Zach Zenner or TJ Jones or Kelvin Sheppard. Undeniably there are some NFL players out there fighting for their 2019 careers in the next couple of weeks.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions player do you want to see succeed in the final two weeks of the season?
My answer: Obviously, it doesn’t have to be a roster bubble guy, so an answer like Matthew Stafford makes complete sense after a disappointing season. However, I tend to agree with our own Ryan Mathews; I think Stafford—especially with his back injury—should probably be tabled for the rest of the year.
Instead, I really want to see Tyrell Crosby play very well down the stretch. We don’t know if Rick Wagner is going to make his way out of concussion protocol before the season ends, but the fact that the Lions haven’t placed him on IR yet suggests he could be back as soon as this week.
No offense to Wagner, but I’d like to see Crosby play this week vs. the Minnesota Vikings. It will obviously be a pretty tough test for the rookie tackle, but it would be a valuable one. Fellow rookie offensive lineman Frank Ragnow talked about how valuable of an experience it was to go up against Aaron Donald. And while he got his butt kicked, it was probably worth it for the insight into how good NFL players can really be. The same teaching moment could be waiting for Crosby this week, who could very well be a starter on this offensive line soon.