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Detroit Lions 2019 Bubble Watch Week 2: Wide receiver battle heats up

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The first week of training camp shook our expectations from minicamp.

NFL: Detroit Lions-Training Camp Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to our first edition of the reactionary Detroit Lions Bubble Watch. Last week, we introduced Bubble Watch, in which our entire staff predicts the fate of a group of players we deem on the roster bubble. Of course, last week, we had no real information to go on other than OTAs and minicamp. This week, we have a set of training camp practices to dissect and analyze and react to.

Additionally, there were a couple of significant roster moves that will affect the makeup of this team. The release of Theo Riddick appears to have cleared up the running back situation, while the addition of Mike Daniels will undoubtedly push someone off the roster.

So with that in mind, here is Week 2 of Detroit Lions Bubble Watch.

Bubble Watch Week 2: Offense

Player Jeremy Reisman Kent Lee Ryan Mathews Mike Payton Hamza Alex Reno Andrew Kato Mansur Shaheen Kyle Yost Justin Simon John Whiticar CHANGE
Player Jeremy Reisman Kent Lee Ryan Mathews Mike Payton Hamza Alex Reno Andrew Kato Mansur Shaheen Kyle Yost Justin Simon John Whiticar CHANGE
FB Nick Bawden IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 0
WR Jermaine Kearse IN OUT IN OUT IN OUT IN IN IN OUT IN N/A
WR Tommylee Lewis OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT N/A
WR Andy Jones OUT IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN OUT -2
WR Travis Fulgham IN IN OUT IN OUT IN IN IN IN OUT IN 0
WR Brandon Powell OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT IN OUT IN OUT 3
OT Ryan Pope OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT -2
OT Andrew Donnal IN IN IN OUT IN IN IN IN IN IN OUT 2
G Oday Aboushi IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 0
G Kenny Wiggins IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 0
G Beau Benzschawel OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN -4
G/C Leo Koloamatangi OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT N/A

New to Bubble Watch: Jermaine Kearse, Tommylee Lewis, Leo Koloamatangi

I probably made a bad assumption last week that Jermaine Kearse was a lock for the WR4 position, and after a week of uninspiring performance from pretty much anyone who wasn’t a top-three receiver, he falls down into the roster bubble. And with that, Tommylee Lewis jumps back into the competition, despite starting camp on the PUP list.

Leo Koloamatangi regularly took reps with the third team, meaning he, too, has fallen into the roster bubble.

Off the Bubble: Zach Zenner, Ty Johnson, Theo Riddick

As I mentioned previously, the release of Theo Riddick cleared up the running back situation. Zach Zenner and Ty Johnson are sitting pretty right now, and I don’t consider them on the bubble at all anymore. Mark Thompson could always change that, but until I see some evidence of a real competition, those two are solidly in.

Biggest risers: Brandon Powell (+3), Andrew Donnal (+2)
Biggest fallers: Beau Benzschawel (-4), Andy Jones/Ryan Pope (-2)

Powell was the biggest riser this week, and it may have to do with the release of Theo Riddick. As our own Mansur Shaheen suggested, Powell may have a greater chance at taking over Riddick’s role than a guy like Ty Johnson. If there is a role in this offense for a shifty, small offensive weapon that can be used both in the backfield and in the running game, Powell does fit that bill pretty well. Still, the wide receiver bubble battle is being led by rookie Travis Fulgham (8 “IN” votes) and Jermaine Kearse (7).

As for the fallers, the undrafted rookies have yet to impress at camp. Both Benzschawel and Pope got pretty rich UDFA deals, but neither has cracked the first or second teams on offense yet. It’s still extremely early in camp, but neither are trending in the right direction.

Bubble Watch Week 2: Defense

Player Jeremy Reisman Kent Lee Ryan Mathews Mike Payton Hamza Alex Reno Andrew Kato Mansur Shaheen Kyle Yost Justin Simon John Whiticar CHANGE
Player Jeremy Reisman Kent Lee Ryan Mathews Mike Payton Hamza Alex Reno Andrew Kato Mansur Shaheen Kyle Yost Justin Simon John Whiticar CHANGE
EDGE Eric Lee OUT IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT 1
EDGE Malik Carney OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT -4
EDGE Mitchell Loewen IN IN IN IN IN IN IN OUT IN IN IN N/A
DT P.J. Johnson OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN IN OUT IN 1
DT John Atkins OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT -1
LB Anthony Pittman OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT -1
LB Steve Longa OUT OUT IN IN OUT OUT IN OUT OUT IN IN 0
LB Miles Killebrew IN OUT OUT IN OUT IN OUT IN IN OUT IN -1
CB Teez Tabor IN IN IN IN IN IN OUT IN IN IN IN 2
CB Mike Ford OUT OUT IN OUT IN OUT IN OUT IN IN OUT -3
CB Marcus Cooper IN OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN 0
S Andrew Adams IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN OUT 4
S Charles Washington IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN IN -4

New to Bubble Watch: EDGE Mitchell Loewen

Loewen was a relative unknown going into camp, but the veteran defensive lineman made a huge impression over the weekend. With so many injuries along the defensive front, Loewen was getting plenty of reps with the first team. Unfortunately, his weekend, too, ended with an injury.

Biggest risers: Andrew Adams (+4), Teez Tabor (+2)
Biggest fallers: Charles Washington (-4), Malik Carney (-4), Mike Ford (-3)

At camp, Andrew Adams rotated with the first-team defense as the third safety when Tracy Walker dropped into the box, and he was actually one of the most impressive defensive backs on the field. Jumping four spots this week, Adams only has one, single “OUT” vote after one week of camp.

Teez Tabor also continues to play fairly well with the first team, which has gotten him two more supporters from the Pride of Detroit staff. At this point, he, too, only has one holdout.

As the equal and opposite reaction to Adams’ rise, Charles Washington took a big hit this week. Only three staffers still believe his special teams contributions will win him a roster spot.

Malik Carney joins the rest of the UDFAs as one of the bigger disappointments from Week 1 of training camp. Carney is among the many defensive linemen that are injured and he can’t afford the missed time right now.

Finally, Mike Ford has been consistently repping with the third team, meaning his offseason hype from a decent finish to the 2018 season has significantly died down. There are still five staffers that believe he’ll crack the final roster, but he’ll have to show some major improvements over the preseason to work his way up.