Detroit Lions football returns this week, and thus it comes time for the first edition of a new season-long series: bold prediction of the week. The series will be exactly as the title indicates: one hot take every week about what will unfold on Sunday (or in this case, Friday). With that being said, let’s take a look at our very first bold prediction of the week.
Bold prediction of the week: Miles Killebrew sees playing time early and often
In the first two weeks of training camp, there have been lots of players stepping up and making big plays. Miles Killebrew has not been one of them. The opportunities have been there, and Killebrew has not seized them.
Quandre Diggs has taken most snaps at nickel corner, his original position, rather than strong safety, where he moved to and thrived at late last season. On top of that, starting strong safety Tavon Wilson has been on and off the field, missing one practice through camp and spending another in a red no-contact jersey.
In light of these opportunities, it has not been Miles Killebrew who has filled the hole at strong safety, but lesser-known players such as Rolan Milligan, and that says a lot about where this coaching staff sees Killebrew on the depth chart.
Day 9 of Lions training camp may be where the tables turn. As Jeremy Reisman noted in Monday’s training camp observations, Killebrew was seen doing individual drills with the linebackers, and even got some first-team reps at linebacker alongside Jarrad Davis.
Killebrew’s downfall over the course of last season was largely a product of his poor coverage skills against wide receivers. Operating in a linebacker role could be a much better fit for Killebrew’s hard-hitting abilities, and the lesser route-running skills of most tight ends and running backs may not expose Killebrew’s struggles in coverage as much.
The most important catalyst for this prediction to come to fruition is desperation. Killebrew is on the roster bubble right now, with only five of the nine Pride of Detroit writers voting him “in” on this week’s bubble watch. If Lions brass are as low on Killebrew at safety as it seems, this may be his only way onto the 53-man roster. If that’s the case, then the coaching staff will want to know what they have in Killebrew at linebacker sooner rather than later. That could mean significant playing time for Killebrew at linebacker.
With the Lions taking part in joint practices with the Oakland Raiders this week, Killebrew could see extensive time at linebacker in scrimmages. If the coaches are really serious about the move, it could translate to lots of time at linebacker for Killebrew in the first preseason game on Friday.
As Jeremy noted, “let’s not overreact too much to one practice.” Given Killebrew’s situation, however, this could escalate to a reality very quickly, and it’ll be important to keep an eye on the rest of this week to see if this will be a lasting move.