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Detroit Lions Bubble Watch: Where the Lions’ fringe players stand after preseason

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A look at who is in and out, according to our staff.

Detroit Lions v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The players on the Detroit Lions’ roster bubble made their final cases to the coaching staff on why they deserve to be on the team’s 53-man roster. For some, they may have just won themselves a job. For others, it won’t be enough.

For one last time, we gathered the Pride of Detroit staff together to give their final predictions on the players currently sitting on the roster bubble. Who’s in? Who’s out? Who’s trending in the right and wrong directions?

Let’s take a look:

Final Bubble Watch: 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
QB Tom Savage IN IN OUT OUT IN IN IN IN IN OUT IN N/A
QB Josh Johnson OUT OUT IN IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN OUT -1
RB Mark Thompson IN OUT OUT IN IN IN IN OUT OUT OUT OUT 5
WR Tommylee Lewis OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT 0
WR Andy Jones OUT IN OUT IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN 2
WR Travis Fulgham IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN OUT 2
WR Brandon Powell OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT OUT IN 0
WR Chris Lacy IN IN IN IN OUT OUT IN IN IN IN OUT 0
TE Isaac Nauta IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT -5
OT Andrew Donnal OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT -10
G Beau Benzschawel OUT IN OUT IN IN OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT 0
G/C Leo Koloamatangi OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT IN OUT -1
C Luke Bowanko OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT 0
G Oday Aboushi IN OUT IN OUT OUT IN OUT IN OUT OUT IN 0

New to Bubble Watch: Luke Bowanko (up), Tom Savage (down)
Off the Bubble: David Fales (cut), Kenny Wiggins (in), Zach Zenner (cut)

Tom Savage returned to practice this week, but he lands on Bubble Watch after being clearly outplayed by Josh Johnson in the preseason finale. Right now, the staff still believes Savage comes out victorious, but Johnson earned a few believers outside of the staff.

Due to Frank Ragnow’s injury, Luke Bowanko joins the bubble as a potential backup center, but no one believes in his roster chances right now.

Biggest risers: Mark Thompson (+5), Andy Jones (+2), Travis Fulgham (+2)
Biggest fallers: Andrew Donnal (-10), Isaac Nauta (-5)

Mark Thompson’s solid performance mixed with the release of Zach Zenner earlier in the week made him the big winner this week. Travis Fulgham also appeared to have taken a big jump in the wide receiver battle after a late surge on Thursday night.

Andrew Donnal saw a humongous drop off likely due to the return of Tyrell Crosby to practice, even though Crosby struggled mightily in the preseason finale. And although he made a few plays late in the game, Isaac Nauta’s downward trajectory continues, as the Lions face a tough decision with his fate.

Final Bubble Watch: 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 IN OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT IN OUT IN OUT 2
EDGE Mitchell Loewen OUT IN IN IN OUT IN IN OUT OUT OUT IN -4
DT P.J. Johnson OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT -1
DT Kevin Strong IN OUT OUT OUT IN IN IN IN OUT OUT IN -5
LB Steve Longa OUT IN IN IN IN IN OUT OUT IN OUT IN 6
LB Miles Killebrew IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 1
CB Teez Tabor OUT OUT IN OUT IN IN OUT IN IN IN IN 0
CB Mike Ford IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT IN IN 4
CB Dee Virgin OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT N/A
S Andrew Adams OUT IN OUT IN OUT OUT IN IN OUT IN OUT -1
S Charles Washington IN OUT OUT OUT IN IN IN OUT OUT IN OUT -1
S Tavon Wilson IN OUT IN IN OUT OUT IN IN IN IN OUT -1
S C.J. Moore OUT IN IN IN IN IN OUT OUT OUT OUT IN 3

New to Bubble Watch: Dee Virgin (up)
Off the Bubble: Fred Jones (down), John Atkins (down), Malik Carney (down)

Dee Virgin didn’t play in the preseason finale, potentially suggesting he may have a roster spot locked up. At the very least, he’s earned some Bubble Watch consideration after some solid special teams contributions, but no one on the staff is biting.

After a while, it became clear where the line between starters and depth was on the defensive line and at linebacker. Jones, Atkins and Carney are all considered long shots and fell off the bubble after quiet performances in the preseason.

Biggest risers: Steve Longa (+6), Mike Ford (+4), C.J. Moore (+3),
Biggest fallers: Kevin Strong (-5), Mitchell Loewen (-4)

Longa’s fate is unknown, but simply his return from practice was enough to land him a roster spot with over half of our staff. But the fact that he didn’t play in the preseason finale is a curious data point. Meanwhile, Mike Ford’s solid game vs. the Browns and C.J. Moore’s continued special teams improvement earned them some followers this week.

Meanwhile, Eric Lee’s solid game has some questioning Mitchell Loewen’s roster spot, and Kevin Strong has been a little more quiet as of late.