The Detroit Lions again played well in their exhibition game against the Cleveland Browns last Saturday. The first team was on the field for a good amount of time, as they are beginning to get into game mode as the regular season approaches. For those who are not guaranteed to start, this gave players an opportunity to impress the coaching staff another time and solidify their positions on the team. Matthew Stafford looked cool, calm and collected for the third game in a row and has now completed 74% of his passes this preseason. Jahvid Best is starting to make everyone look like geniuses in the organization for trading up to get him with the 31st pick overall in this year’s draft. He had only one carry on the night, but it was for a blistering 51 yards, in which he made three defenders miss and showed the burst that made him one of the most coveted running backs coming out of college.
The defensive line proved again that they are a force to be reckoned with this season. They were very quick off of the ball and they almost got to Brown’s QB Jake Delhomme on numerous passing plays. What they don’t tell you was that Delhomme was only taking a three step drop most of the night to get rid of the ball quickly, knowing that Suh, Vanden Bosch and Avril were bringing it every play. This is really a testament as to how much respect this unit is getting and is going to get throughout the season. The best play of the night, albeit it was a penalty, was when Suh bear hugged Delhomme, and threw him to the ground as if it was his pint sized little brother. It gave me flashbacks of the Big XII Championship Game last year, when he was doing the same to Colt McCoy on his way to a 5 sack game. He is beginning to look like the dominant player he was in college, which should have quarterbacks in the league very nervous and worried about having to play the Lions. Yet again, the secondary was the worst unit on the field for the Lions. They were terrible in man to man coverage and they lack the ball skills that make it necessary to play in this league. The one bright spot in the back four was Louis Delmas. He should solidify himself as one of the top safeties in the league this year because he just makes plays. For instance, the Browns were driving and in the red zone on a 3rd and 5. Just as it looked like the Browns were going to score on a 15 play drive, Delmas knocks down a pass in the end zone to hold them to a field goal. These types of plays will be expected from him all year as a leader of the defense.
Saturday night was also a chance for those who were on the cusp of making the 53 man roster. Unfortunately the roster had to be cut down to 75 by today and those that were released to get it down to that number were: TE Jake Nordin, LB Lee Campbell, DE Chima Ihekwoaba, WR Eric Fowler and S David Roach. There is still a chance for those looking to make a name for themselves in this league as the Lions finish their preseason schedule September 2nd, against the Buffalo Bills. Two days later, final cuts will be made and the roster will be down to 53.
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Written by David Lesmeister