Within the next two days, the Detroit Lions’ roster will be cut down from 75 to 53 men.
Eight more will make the practice squad, leaving 14 players jobless. The rest will focus on bringing the Vince Lombardi trophy to Detroit for the first time ever.
I guess you could say there is a lot at stake.
In the grand scheme of things, maybe there isn’t. After all, I think Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will both make the 53-man, and a team with those two is one that will
But while the starters and even most second-stringers are safe, the guys buried on the depth chart can be just as important to their team.
Take last year, for instance. The Lions sustained injury after injury at running back before finally calling Kevin Smith up from AAA Toledo. He suited up and gave the Lions much-needed assistance in the running game. Depth kills.
The Lions have one more preseason game Thursday night against Buffalo. The game kicks off at 7:00pm, and unless Fox wants to tape delay the game 45 minutes again, can be seen at that time. This final preseason game will decide what players will be Lions and what players will be free agents to begin 2012.
While head coach Jim Schwartz refuses to talk about positional battles much, there are many that will be decided tomorrow night.
Schwartz says the best players will make the team, regardless of position, but the Lions can’t keep seven running backs or ten wide receivers. I see big time roster decisions coming at those two positions. I like WRs Kassim Osgood and Maurice Stovall to make the team because of special teams contributions.
At running back, things are tougher. Jahvid Best is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP), Mikel Leshoure is suspended two games, and Kevin Smith has a bum ankle. Leshoure, Smith, and Keiland Williams will be on the team. I think Stefan Logan has been good enough on special teams to merit a roster spot. Whether or not Schwartz will elect to keep Joique Bell is up in the air.
With CB Kevin Barnes recently acquired from Washington, the battle in the secondary gets even hotter. Chris Houston, Bill Bentley, and Alphonso Smith are in. Jacob Lacey is probably in, but has to play well against Buffalo to solidify that. I don’t know much about the new guy Barnes, but he played in 15 games last year for the Redskins, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him make the team.
One more game, one final shot for players to catch coach Schwartz’s eye and make the team.
Hopefully, Jim can pick the guys who will help Detroit make a run to the postseason and beyond.
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