In their first taste of action of the 2017-2018 NFL season, the Detroit Lions impressed in their 24-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Second-year quarterback Jake Rudock and rookies Brad Kaaya and Kenny Golladay all shined for Detroit this past Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. With one win in the books, Detroit now looks ahead to their next preseason game on Saturday against the New York Jets.
The Lions will be looking for much of the same success from their team against the Jets like they saw against the Colts. With multiple players going down with injuries in the past week, Detroit team will be searching for someone to fill the roles of the injured players. In this weeks game against New York, keep an eye out for three specific things: the defensive end position, Kenny Golladay’s play, and the battle for the backup quarterback spot.
1Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
During the first preseason game against the Colts, starting defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. was lost for the rest of the season due to a torn Achilles. Not only did Detroit lose their starting defensive end, but according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, they have also lost linebacker Brandon Copeland to a torn pec. With both of these players being lost for the season, the Lions will now be searching for someone to fill their roles. In their upcoming game against the Jets, look for Cornelius Washington, rookie Pat O’Connor, and Anthony Zettel to battle it out for the starting defensive end spot opposite of Ezekiel Ansah, who is currently on the PUP list. Also, look for Thurston Armbrister to step up and fill the void left by Copeland.
Kenny Golladay, the rookie wide receiver out of Northern Illinois, impressed everyone with his performance in his first ever taste of NFL football. Golladay had three receptions for 53 yards, two touchdowns, and an average of 17.7 yards gained per play. Not too bad for his first game in the pros, but now he is going to have all eyes on him in the game against the Jets. If he can repeat or improve on his stat line from the Colts game, fans could start seeing a lot more of Golladay on the field this upcoming season. Look for Stafford, Rudock, and Kaaya to try and get him the ball as much as possible so that he can truly show what he is made of.
3Rudock vs. Kaaya
The battle for the backup quarterback position between Jake Rudock and Brad Kaaya will be an interesting one. Both players are young and looking to prove themselves to their teammates and their coaches. Jake Rudock, a 2016 sixth-round pick out of Michigan, is looking to lock down the backup spot in his second year with the team. Rudock played well against the Colts this past week, completing 13 of his 21 attempted passes for 142 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. On the other hand, Kaaya, a 2017 sixth-round pick out of Miami (FL), impressed in his NFL debut. Kaaya completed 8 of his 11 passes for 71 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions. In week two of the preseason when the Lions take on the Jets, look for Kaaya and Rudock to play their hearts out again so that one of them can be crowned backup quarterback.