The NFL preseason will soon be over, as the Detroit Lions head into Buffalo on Thursday. It will be the last chance for the coaches to see what they have in their reserve players. A lot of the starters will not play, and if they do it will not be for long. It is the end of the road for a lot of young players, and maybe even a few veterans.
For Kellen Moore, he may only have one more opportunity to impress his coaches. Detroit’s head coach Jim Caldwell has said adamantly that he is still unsure whether he will keep two or three quarterbacks on the active roster. He didn’t say specifically that Kellen Moore could win or lose a roster spot in Buffalo, but that appears to be the case. In Joe Lombardi’s offense, it would make little sense to keep an extra quarterback on the roster. The extra spot would be better served as a fourth tailback, or an extra defensive back.
George Winn and Mikel LeShoure are both looking at winning the fourth tailback position on the Detroit Lions’ 53-man roster. Joe Lombardi is known for wanting diversity within his offensive scheme, and they both would seek to fill a short yardage situation. That may be problematic for LeShoure; he has shown a little bit of hesitation in hitting the holes.
George Winn has played like a monster on special teams, and he runs with purpose, but he has had problems with his hands this preseason. When Detroit plays Buffalo on Thursday evening, it could be a running game showdown between Winn and LeShoure. They could each use about 15 more carries to show what they are really about. For George Winn, he will also need to keep playing at a high level on special teams, also. It would definitely help his case to making the roster.
Now that Nate Freese has won the kicking job in Detroit, it will be interesting to see if he is more comfortable with his field goal attempts. Freese is known for being very accurate, but he did miss a 33-yard extra point. He has no more competition at kicker since the departure of Giorgio Tavecchio, so Freese should feel a little more at ease when he takes the field.
Buffalo marks the end of the road for a lot of the young players that have survived the first cuts made by the Lions. One such player is the local fan favorite linebacker, Shamari Benton. Benton is a rookie linebacker out of Central Michigan, but he is a long shot to make the active roster. He has a lot of fans pulling for him, and should get a chance to show his skills against the Bills.
Mohammed Seisay is another rookie that is trying to survive the next round of cuts. He has shown good awareness when he has been on the field, and has 3 tackles and 2 passes defended. Seisay is a big defensive back who can line up at safety or cornerback, and he could fit the roster well. He has played very well for a rookie undrafted free agent.
Some of the hardest decisions to be made by the Lions’ coaching staff is who to let go at defensive end. Darryl Tapp and George Johnson are having themselves a position battle. As of now, Johnson is probably the favorite to win the job. However, that could all change during the game in Buffalo.
The final preseason game for the Detroit Lions is not going to be about the starters at all, but about who will round out the bottom of the depth chart. It will be important for them to find the most talented 53 men if they want to compete in the NFC North, and Buffalo could be the most important preseason game yet.