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4 takeaways from the Lions’ loss to the Texans

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Detroit looked much better in Week 2.

Cleveland Browns v Detroit Lions

The Lions may have lost their Week 2 preseason game against the Houston Texans 30-23, but they clearly improved over the past week. Here are a few takeaways:

Joe Dahl is (probably) a starter

The Lions biggest camp battle on the offensive side of the ball may be decided already. Detroit showed faith in fourth-year guard Joe Dahl earlier this month when they signed him to a two-year contract extension worth $3.6 million. They showed even more faith in him in Week 2 of preseason, when they gave him the nod at starting guard.

Dahl lined up with the first team offensive line to start the game, replacing Week 1 starter Kenny Wiggins, and did well with the starters. He and Wiggins both featured at guard until deep into the first half, but Dahl was always at the left guard position, a spot that has an open starting role.

It is clear that Detroit’s coaching staff has a lot of faith in the 2016 fifth-round pick, and it looks like it is his job to lose going forward.

Tom Kennedy could work his way onto the roster

Slot receiver Tom Kennedy was an afterthought entering camp this year. The former professional lacrosse player was a long shot to make the roster this summer and was on the fringes of the depth chart entering camp. He looked good in Week 2, though.

He made a great adjustment to haul in an awful pass by Josh Johnson late in the first half and finished the day with two catches for 23 yards. Kennedy had a good game last week as well, and has shown that he could do anything that fellow slot receiver Brandon Powell could, but he is two inches taller and has a bigger frame. A muffed punt return will hurt, but he was probably not winning the return job anyway.

Kennedy has a real chance to make the roster, as the WR4 and WR5 position seem open at the moment. Two more good weeks of football and he has a chance at making the 53-man roster.

Another rough day for the secondary

The Lions secondary had another bad outing against the Texans. They struggled to contain Houston’s receivers deep, and if not for a few drops and bad throws by Texans backup quarterback Joe Webb, their highlight reel would be much longer.

What makes this week even more worrying than last is that the first team secondary played into the second quarter. Nickel Justin Coleman looked less-than-stellar and safeties Quandre Diggs and Andrew Adams were not at their best in coverage either. All three of those names will be in contention to play important roles for Detroit this season, and their failure to contain a second-team offense raises a few red flags.

Big days for guys fighting for a bigger role

Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and defensive end Romeo Okwara are both players that played significant roles on the Lions 2018 defense. Both of them could see their role marginalized in 2019.

The additions of rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai and defensive end Trey Flowers will probably knock the duo out of their starting spots, but they made a case for being big parts of the defensive rotation in Week 2.

Okwara was the best pass rusher on the defense in the first half and bothered Webb for much of the time he was on the field. He was also responsible for the highlight of the day, when he punched the ball out of the grasp of a Texans receiver, forcing the fumble that led to Will Harris’ touchdown in the second quarter.

Reeves-Maybin was somehow all over the Texans backfield and looked like an elite run defender in the absence of Jarrad Davis. He finished the day with five tackles, including one for a loss, but made a few plays that did not show up in the box score.

Neither player is likely to start this year, but both proved they can still serve as great depth on defense.