We’re off and running now. This week the Lions welcomed the New York Giants into town for joint practices in Allen Park. Friday night we’ll get the thrilling, or somewhat entertaining, conclusion to these practices when the two teams go head to head at Ford Field in a an all-out preseason war of epic proportions/vanilla game. The way I see it, there are five things you need to keep your eyes peeled for.
Will Matthew Stafford play?
The Lions starting quarterback didn’t play a snap in last week’s preseason opener against the Raiders. If I had to bet, I’d bet that he won’t be playing Friday night either. At this point, the Lions and their coaches know exactly what they have in Matthew. There’s no point in playing him now.
Still, one has to wonder if he’ll come out for a series or two just to get some live reps in with the team. We should know sooner rather than later, but this is something to definitely watch for.
Can the Lions produce a pass rush?
Last week, the Lions defensive line got absolutely embarrassed by the Raiders offensive line. I know it’s only preseason, but the Lions made Connor Cook look like a guy that should have gone in the first round. Look at him move around without a single second’s hesitation.
Nice job by Connor Cook and Ryan Switzer on this scramble drill for a TD in the red zone: pic.twitter.com/4gUGrAAwwk— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) August 11, 2018
Hey, I’m a Spartans fan. I love Connor Cook. I’ll maintain forever that he didn’t mean to disrespect Archie Griffin. But I know that Connor is not a starting caliber quarterback in the NFL... unless he plays this Lions defensive line every week.
So this week we need to see if the Lions perform much better in this department. Or maybe we’ll see if it’s time for Bob to get on the phone with Mark Davis.
Will the backup quarterbacks give us any hope?
You can tell me it wasn’t that bad. But when I saw Matt Cassel and Jake Rudock play last week, I was reminded of this scene from Terminator 2. This is essentially what happens to the Lions organization if Matthew Stafford gets hurt.
That’s why this week I have to see a better outing from both guys, and I think that we can. I think both quarterbacks would tell you right here and now that they didn’t play their best football last Friday. One of these guys has to make the team right? So it’s time to step it up. I think that happens this Friday.
Will Kerryon continue to make us fall in love with him?
Last week was fun because of Kerryon Johnson. He was the reason we all decided to stay up till nearly 2:00 in the morning to finish watching that game. Pro Football Focus was impressed, too. They awarded Johnson with the highest running back grade in the league for his work against the Raiders.
Now I have to know if it was all a dream, or if it’s the real deal. Will Kerryon get plenty of carries this week? Will he continue to gather as many people as possible on his hype train? I certainly hope so. I’m truly tired of waiting for a great running back to come to Detroit.
Will we learn anything at all about the type of team the Lions will be in 2018?
Will we get a glimpse of the playbook this week? Will Matt Patricia show us the kind of coach he plans to be? Will we get any sort of answers to our millions of questions on Friday night?
Probably not. This is preseason, after all. Both the Lions and the Giants will run vanilla offense and defense all day long. Much like last week, we’ll all come away with more questions that we have answers.
You know what, that’s okay. That’s what the preseason is all about. Let’s get our guys out here and see if they can gel and find out which players have the best chance to make the final 53-man roster.
Despite that, I still can’t wait to watch this game Friday night. Because even though it’s fake football, it’s still Lions football. These are the things I’m looking for. What are you going to be looking for?