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Friday, September 2, 2011

Preseason Game 4 Lions at Buffalo Bills

Can't wait for the regular season to start.

Unfortunately for 27 current players on the Lions roster, the good feeling ends very soon. Some of them will make the practice squad, a couple will find work on another football team, but the rest are done with NFL football as of now. It's too bad the new CBA didn't include a larger roster limit and an expanded practice squad.

That said, the team is actually shaping up pretty well. There are a number of positions up for grabs and at least 3 times that number of players vying for them. As I watched the 4th preseason game a few things jumped out at me that make me believe I'm not going to beat my final roster prediction record (that I made after preseason game 1, as I've done for years).

I do believe Ryan Donahue has won the punter job over Nick Harris. Matt Clapp has apparently won the fullback job since Jerome Felton has already been cut and I must say, he did pretty well in that 4 minute drill at the end of the game (even if it was against their 4s). I'm not too confident in my choices for backup guard and center and there are some other positions that are highly contested.

Some of those decisions won't be based on this one game, or on all the preseason games, but on the hours and hours of preseason practice and classroom study. So there is still a chance my initial impressions will be right... I'm just not very confident about them right now.

As for the game itself, here are some notes and comments on them....

I like that Stafford and most of the 1s played one series only in this game. I love that they all sat down without injury (as did most of the team in this game I do believe).

Shaun Merriman is good.

Lions O and D playing with confidence, wonder how they’ll respond to negativity... I don't think they'll just fall apart like they did in the 2000's.

Jerome Harrison appears to be learning about the O (finally).

Titus Young needs to learn the proper acting methods after being held (real or not), draw a flag man (he appeared to be interfered with).

Maurice Stovall is making the team (said that many times before), I'm less positive about Rashied Davis though. We shall see.

Wow, 3.5 minutes to go in 1st quarter and we're already seeing Stanton (and the other 3rd stringers). Nice.

I really like the Lions QB depth.

That’s a blow to the head? Wow.

Cameraman needs to work on his ball following skills.

Nice shake-n-bake by Jerome Harrison.

Hughes is like, medium rare… just not quite done, close, but not done enough yet.

Aaron Brown outplayed Jerome Harrison previously, but not this game.

That return by Hughes (fumbled) is the final nail I should think, at least as a return man anyway.

Willie Young showing his stuff… nice component of the team... great depth on the DLine.

Hughes protects that punt return very well, guess he can learn from his mistakes.

Pratt and Silva are almost ready, like Hughes. Years past, these three would automatically make the team… now, not so sure.

Fransisco made a great play defending that pass on 4th down.

QB Robinson starts with 10 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.

Tim Toone, Caleb Campbell, JJ Finley, … guys one step behind Hughes, Pratt, Ian Johnson, Mixon and Silva. The former are probably goners, so are the latter, but they are making it interesting... and Silva might make the team while Alphonso Smith is unable to practice (if he qualifies for PUP which I think he does). But if he goes on PUP he can't come off of it until after week 6.

Haven’t seen the Lions players having fun like this in a long long long time.

D Williams hesitates, like he’s waiting to be hit… instead of going full speed ahead.

Clapp has more carries in this one game then Felton in a year I think.

If 1st string OL could block holes like those 4th stringers wow.

Great TACKLE by JASON HANSON!

Another nice pop by Fransisco, and then another back to back. Where's this guy been hiding out at?

Clapp loses the bandaid on his nose again, blood everywhere… but he’s getting those hard yards.

Nice tackle Caleb Campbell… though it may be your last as a Lion (sorry bud) unless the team keeps you over Hogue (numbers game now).

Lions win 16-6… and all 4 preseason games (gulp).

Well, I'm not sure who the final 53 players will be (or 54 if one goes on PUP) but I do know that not only are we fans ready for regular season, so are the Lions themselves. Since there was no OTAs, no nothing for 5 months this off season, I'm really impressed. All aspects of this team are ready to play and ready to win.

Next weeks' blog entry, my Lions win/loss prediction. Don't forget to enter yours in the win/loss prediction contest at http://www.theNetRat.com/contests.html.

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