The Detroit Lions’ first preseason game was a failure on many levels, and one such failure was their inability to find the end zone. Putting up a mere field goal against the Patriots is disappointing, and all facets of the offense were struggling.
However, all is not lost. The preseason is a learning experience for coaches and players, and the Lions certainly learned what not to do versus New England. Very few players had a good game. Their upcoming match against the Houston Texans will hopefully present a happier outcome for Lions fans. The results themselves do not matter, but a win is usually a byproduct of some solid performances.
It remains to be seen how many snaps the starters will get—if they get any at all. Players like Kenny Golladay and Kerryon Johnson are likely candidates to lead the team in touchdowns during the regular season, but they figure to be minimally involved this preseason.
The Lions have a multitude to players looking to make an impact. The running back positions behind Johnson and C.J. Anderson are wide open. Ty Johnson, the electric rookie, figures to have a leg up on the competition after being one of the few Lions to have a good performance against New England. Meanwhile, Zach Zenner, Mark Thompson, newly-signed Justin Stockton, and fullback Nick Bawden round out the backfield.
Meanwhile at receiver, the Lions have multiple questions in wake of Jermaine Kearse’s injury. The likes of Travis Fulgham, Andy Jones, Chris Lacy, Brandon Powell, Jonathan Duhart, Tom Kennedy, Tommylee Lewis, and re-signed Deontez Alexander are all competing for the fourth wide receiver spot—there might not be a fifth spot either.
Rounding out the receiving options for David Fales, Josh Johnson, and Tom Savage (should he be cleared of his concussion) are the tight ends. Jesse James and Austin Traylor both recorded catches versus the Patriots, but rookie T.J. Hockenson figures to be more involved come the regular season. Elsewhere, Isaac Nauta, Logan Thomas, and Jerome Cunningham are competing for a roster spot.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Who will score the first touchdown of the preseason?
My answer: Given the uncertainty regarding the Lions’ backup quarterbacks, I expect the Lions’ first touchdown of the preseason to come on a touchdown run. As I mentioned before, Ty Johnson looked quite explosive during his first game, and I expect him to make a similar impact en route to clinching a roster spot. However, he is not a powerful runner, so he would have to use his breakaway speed to score.
As a result, I think Zach Zenner or Mark Thompson are the likeliest candidates. Zenner is the more experienced back of the two with a well-rounded skill set. Thompson, meanwhile, is similar to LeGarrette Blount with his 6-foot-1, 240-pound frame. Should the Lions end up on the goal line, I expect them to give Thompson plenty of looks. However, I think Zenner’s pass catching ability gives him the edge. With Thompson on the field, a run play is essentially telegraphed. Zenner, meanwhile, is a bigger threat as a runner and a receiver. Given how effective Kerryon Johnson is as a receiver, I expect the Lions to test their playbook with Zenner.