The Detroit Lions 2018 regular season is quickly approaching, and while that’s exciting for us, it can be stressful for the players themselves. They’re fighting for employment, and Friday night’s game against the New York Giants may be one of their last chances to convince Bob Quinn and company to keep them in the locker room this season.
Here are six players with the most on the line Friday night.
We saw this week just how quickly the Lions’ offensive line could fall apart. When Graham Glasgow went down with a leg injury—that turned out to only be minor—we saw the impact domino its way down the roster.
Johnson immediately replaced him, and it did not go so well. Friday night, Glasgow isn’t expected to play, meaning Johnson may get a chance to redeem himself against the Giants.
Right now, the Lions’ interior offensive line depth is murky, at best. Johnson is fighting off Kenny Wiggins, Leo Koloamatangi, and to a lesser extent, Dan Skipper for a couple roster spots. If Johnson can rebound Friday night, he may be able to lock up a backup spot for 2018.
Another player in the same mix is Joe Dahl, who has been regularly getting first-team reps while T.J. Lang has been taking days off.
As pointed out by our own Andrew Kato, Dahl’s preseason debut this year went... poorly. While the rest of the starting offensive line was pass protecting well, Dahl gave up a handful of pressures and a sack in just 32 snaps.
Dahl is entering his third season with the Lions, and his honeymoon period is over. He’s had more than enough time to adjust in the NFL, so if he’s going to stick with it in the big leagues, he has to show he’s capable now.
The Lions’ tight end crew has underwhelmed this preseason, and no player has been more disappointing than Michael Robert. Granted, Roberts is still young to this league, but optimism was quite high for Roberts after being drafted in the fourth round last year. Roberts didn’t play much of all in his rookie year, and only caught four total passes.
And now with Hakeem Valles riding all of the momentum in camp, questions are starting to rise about Roberts’ security on the roster. It seems unlikely the Lions would cut bait so quickly on Roberts, especially considering tight end is a position that has a high learning curve from college to the pros, but a good performance on Friday would put any concerns to bed.
After transitioning to linebacker last week, Killebrew only saw seven total defensive snaps against the Oakland Raiders in the preseason opener. With another week of practice at linebacker under his belt, Killebrew is due for more playing time Friday night.
Killebrew is firmly on the roster bubble, and having to deal with a positional change halfway through camp puts him at a severe disadvantage. But if Killebrew can show that the coaches made the right choice, there is certainly room for him amongst this weak linebacker depth.
The Detroit Lions are relying upon Jarrad Davis to take a huge jump from Year 1 to Year 2. While his rookie season wasn’t bad—and it ended on a high note—concerns arose when the Lions had to take him off the field for passing downs due to pass coverage issues.
Thus far in camp, Davis has stood out for all the wrong reasons. Whether it’s getting trucked by Raiders backs or getting beat on a 9-route by Zach freakin’ Zenner, Davis hasn’t been at his best this training camp.
It’s far too early to give up on Davis, but you can sense the growing anxiety around the 2017 first-round pick. To ease some of those worries, Davis needs a big game, and the sooner the better.
Please. PLEASE! Someone look like they want this backup quarterback job.