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Discussion: Should the Detroit Lions starters play in the preseason finale?

The Detroit Lions haven’t played their starters in any of the preseason games. Should coach Dan Campbell let the starters play in the finale?

Jacksonville Jaguars v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have yet to play a large majority of their starters in the preseason. That is not true for almost every other NFL team in the league, as starters have been regularly getting a series, a quarter or even sometimes a half of play to get their feet wet.

Of course, the Lions are also in a bit of a unique situation. For the first two preseason games, they had a pair of joint practices with the opponent in the lead-up to the contest. Most teams only had one, if that. For coach Dan Campbell, those controlled reps during the week against an opponent have been more than enough to get their starters the experience they need.

“Another reason we do these (joint practices) is that I feel like you’ve got two great days of work, banked a lot of reps, and so I don’t see us playing these starters this week,” Campbell told 97.1 The Ticket last week. “I don’t see it. We’re going to sit that core group again, and let some of these young guys go. There may be a few select rookies we don’t play. We’ll see where we’re at there as well. But I think that’s the benefit of having this (joint practice session). We have over 40 reps yesterday.”

But there are some things joint practices can’t provide. They can’t provide the feel of going through your game day routine. There’s rarely any full contact and live tackling. You don’t have to perform in front of a loud, raucous audience.

The Lions close out the preseason on Friday against the Carolina Panthers for their only exhibition road trip. At this point, it’s unclear if the Lions plan to play any of their starters, so today’s question of the Day is:

Should the Lions play their starters in the preseason finale?

My answer: I don’t think it’s necessary. From a fan point of view, I’d love to see a series or two to get going. But, ultimately, I think the actual benefit of a series or two—or even a full quarter—are minimal. Sure, it’d be good for a defensive player to get some live tackling experience, and it’d be slightly beneficial for David Montgomery to start actually breaking some tackles. But are three or four touches or tackle opportunities really going to make these players noticeably more prepared for Kansas City in two weeks? That seems unlikely to me.

As of late, the Lions have had a bad string of luck when it comes to injuries late in the preseason. Let’s not add anymore risk than we have to, and get this team to the starting line as healthy as possible.

What do you think? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts by scrolling to the comment section at the bottom of the page.

Poll

Should the Lions play their starters in the preseason finale?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    No
    (1142 votes)
  • 38%
    Yes, but just a series or two
    (1096 votes)
  • 17%
    Yes, a full quarter
    (494 votes)
  • 4%
    Yes, a full half
    (119 votes)
2851 votes total Vote Now

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