With the dress rehearsal game out of the way, it’s time for the much anticipated Great Lakes Classic between the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns. Everyone will be on the edge of their seats to see who wins the big trophy (I don’t remember it’s name, and I’m not going to bother looking it up). If the sarcasm isn’t apparent enough let’s make it clear... this game matters least of all the preseason and should not feature many if any starters.
That should be especially true after the scare of possibly losing Jarrad Davis and Frank Ragnow for a big chunk of the season. They may have dodged a bullet, and they’re almost certainly resting the starters in bubble wrap until Week 1 vs. Arizona. That said, as fans, we are mostly done evaluating each position group. After minicamp, training camp (including joint practices) and preseason action, we have been given a glimpse of which players and position groups have shined or looked dull. Let’s get negative.
Today’s Question of the Day: Which position group are you most worried about?
Aside from Darius Slay, who still looks sharp, no other cornerback has done much to instill confidence heading into the regular season. As we know, a lot can look different when the games count. Detroit played without many defensive starters—particularly on the defensive line—which helps the corner. Additionally, the defense has called vanilla plays and schemes throughout the preseason. There’s a chance those factors will help the cornerback group, but we can only go by what was given, and no one has stood out as a worthy No. 2 to Darius Slay.
No one was expecting Amani Oruwariye to step in that fast. It’s a hard position to transition to the next level. Although positive strides have been made, it would be a shocker if he’s starting this soon. Rashaan Melvin has look good at times but never stood out enough to dispel worries of his subpar season with the Raiders in 2018. Justin Coleman (who is assumed to be primarily playing nickel) looked far from a top-notch slot corner (which he is paid like) both in camp and preseason. It’s been a rough start for his Lions tenure.
There’s no need lamenting over the other guys as either poor performance or injury has put them in a position to fight just to make the team in Thursday’s preseason finale.
Yes, adding Trey Flowers, Mike Daniels and company will help the secondary tremendously. That point is noted. But we can’t blame all of the poor play on lack of pass rush. Missed tackles? Bad angles? Those issues and others can still surface even when the quarterback is under duress. In fact, it can negate the impact of good pressure at times.
I’m hoping I’m wrong, but as of now, I am quite worried about what the Lions have at cornerback after Big Play Slay. You’ve watched the games as well. What position are you most worried about now that we are done seeing most of the starters until Week 1?