The Detroit Lions are set to play their second preseason game on Saturday night. The entire team will hope to bounce back this week after a lackluster performance during the team’s 31-3 loss to the New England Patriots last week. Here are a few things to keep an eye on this week:
How much of the first-team offense plays?
The Lions offense looked abysmal in the preseason opener last week, but as worrying as it looked, not many first-team offensive players were featured at all.
With three weeks to go until opening day, Detroit will have to start to think about getting their players some in-game action to prepare for the new season. They also want to avoid any important players getting injured, though, especially at quarterback and along the offensive line.
Detroit will probably play a little more of their roster this week than last week, but one thing to watch early on is who does and does not come in on the team’s opening possession.
Can Josh Johnson stand out in the backup quarterback race?
Journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson signed with the Lions earlier this week after the camp favorite for the backup quarterback role, Tom Savage, suffered a concussion against the Patriots. Third-string quarterback David Fales did not do anything to impress last week, leaving the job behind Matthew Stafford wide open.
Johnson impressed last season after Washington signed him out of the AAF. The quarterback is now playing for his 12th NFL franchise, but a good performance over the next few weeks can earn him a stay longer than normal in the Motor City.
Who can make a name for themselves in the secondary?
Detroit’s secondary was awful last week. The team did not have Teez Tabor or Rashaan Melvin, while Darius Slay and Justin Coleman played extremely limited snaps. The guys behind them could not contain the Patriots’ second-team offense and were virtually run over by a group of UDFAs and roster bubble players.
The starting lineup in the secondary seems set at the moment—with Slay, Melvin and Coleman at corner, Quandre Diggs and Tracy Walker at safety—but there are still roster spots to be had lower on the depth chart.
Expect to see more of the starters this week, but the real competition might come in the second half as the likes of Mike Ford, Andre Chachere, and Charles Washington and others try to stand out in a crowded group, especially as Tabor remains out with an injury.