Thursday, August 15, 2013

Preseason Game 2, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns - what to look for

Sam Martin: Impressive - so far
- Lions' fans are enamored with Havard Rugland, aka "Kickalious". Like you, I will be sitting on the edge of my seat tonight when he gets another chance, likely in the second half. It will be a stronger test, on grass and outside, in Cleveland. But I still see no circumstance where he is the Lions' kicker to start the season - even if David Akers gets hurt or falters. (I believe if push comes to shove the Lions would sign another kicker). Do you really want a YouTube sensation trying to win opening day with a 40-yard field goal with so much on the line? I do believe, if Rugland continues to make progress, it's possible he will placed on the practice squad.
- The far bigger issue as it actually pertains to the Lions in 2013 is punter Sam Martin. He was extremely impressive vs. the Jets in the preseason opener, both punting and with kickoffs. But consistency is the key.
- The Lions' Ziggy Ansah was taken with the fifth overall pick of the NFL Draft, and Barkevious Mingo was selected sixth overall by the Browns. Both are edge, pass-rush athletes. Each was impressive in their preseason NFL preseason debuts last week. They will be on the same field tonight. Who will perform better?
- This is the second look at the Lions' revamped offensive line. The starters will be on the field longer. How will they fare? I didn't get a real good gauge on it in the first preseason game.
- This is a big game for cornerback Bill Bentley. I touted him long before the Lions' drafted him in the third round in 2012. I thought he played well in the practices I've seen in Allen Park. He did not play well vs. the Jets, however.
- Patrick Edwards showed a flash of impressive speed on a punt return that was called back because of a penalty vs. the Jets. Can he do it again tonight? Also, what can Theo Riddick, the sixth-round draft pick from Notre Dame, can do as a returner? Hope we see tonight.
- The Lions need better play from their backup safeties and linebackers. Depth at those positions remains a concern and is imperative not only defense, but because of the trickle down effect it has on special teams.


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