Lions vs Colts Bulletin: Assess Offensive Depth Before Downsizing

The Detroit Lions closed shop on their preseason roster Friday night, ending winless after losing to the Indianapolis Colts, 27-17.

For a team undergoing a massive organizational overhaul, training camp and preseason was primarily an opportunity for Detroit to get a feel for how deep they had behind their roster. The rookies – both draft picks and undrafted free agents – have been given significant playing time while many of Detroit’s expected starters haven’t seen much preseason action.

Let’s see how Detroit’s depth ranked in their preseason final ahead of Tuesday’s roster reduction from 80 to 53.

Quarterbacks – D +

Many of us have been anxiously waiting to see David Blough finally get the chance to run with the Lions’ second team offense after spending the first two preseason games playing with Detroit’s bottom offensive depth. . We got what we asked for, but it comes at a price.

Tim Boyle injured his finger in the first series when he was sacked by Colts first-round pick Kwity Paye, but the veteran held on for another series where he really got locked in, completing five of six passes and connecting with Quintez Cephus on a well-pitched slope to cap the 14-play, 75-yard course for a touchdown.

Boyle’s injury is expected to cause him to miss some time, which means Blough has come into play earlier than originally expected. Blough made the offensive quarterback for another touchdown before the end of half-time, but a late-game interception that saw the Colts take the lead, along with a few sacks, resulted in the Blough’s worst performance of the preseason.

Running backs – B-

Perhaps one of the toughest decisions for these Lions staff to make is how many running backs to field, and it got even harder after these runners’ performances on Friday night.

Building on an impressive number of matches in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jermar Jefferson had his most complete game to date with 43 yards on 11 carries behind most offensive second and third string linemen. He showcased some of that ability to a cut he touted at Oregon State and even marked the highlight of the night when he collided with a Colts defenseman on the team’s first strike.

In addition to Jefferson’s performance, Godwin Igwebuike, the safety converted to a runner, scored a Colts 1-yard touchdown to cap the team’s second touchdown, and was so effective in protecting passes this preseason – earning a score of 83.4 from a high position, 7 pass blocks this preseason by PFF – that will make the decision whether or not to keep four running backs. And that doesn’t even take into account the performances of Craig “Netflix” Reynolds – someone who had a relatively quiet finale – or Dedrick Mills over the past three weeks.

Wide receivers – D

Part of that is certainly due to Blough’s ineffectiveness, especially in the second half, but there were a few mistakes from this group of wide receivers that were particularly glaring and left a lot of people wondering what the plan is. of Detroit for one of, if not the most – streaming positions on the list.

For starters, Breshad Perriman is a player who suffered many injuries to start his NFL career, and now that he was finally healthy, he had the opportunity to present himself as the No. 1 in the team in this final. What happened instead was a recorded drop – another tough drop on a free play won by the Lions that would have put them inside the Colts’ 10-yard line – and just a performance. overall lackluster when he needed to prove he was a reliable receiver.

Rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown is one of the most talked about players for this revamped offense and for good reason he’s really shown his abilities this preseason. But he misinterpreted a situation on a hot Boyle read that could have resulted in a nice win and ended the game with two catches for 4 yards.

Cephus, someone on the bubble to start training camp, is a lock to make the roster after this game. Partly because he had a good performance, capturing three passes for 35 yards and the aforementioned touchdown, but also because if you look around, no one else in that reception hall has done anything to move. the needle during the preseason as a whole. The quartet of Victor Bolden, Geronimo Allison, Sage Surratt and Damion Ratley combined three catches and 29 yards on nine targets.

Tight ends – D +

This rating is supported by Darren Fells’ best performance of the preseason. From his efforts as a blocker in both pro passing and running play, to the two catches he made for 20 yards, the Lions can take comfort in knowing they have a solid second option in the game. close end alongside TJ Hockenson.

Beyond that, I currently don’t see a tight end in the roster worthy of this TE3 place and that’s really concerning for a team that would certainly like to lead some 13 people this season. Alize Mack and Brock Wright had plenty of opportunities to earn a spot on this list, especially with Hockenson who didn’t adjust to any of the preseason games, and neither got anything. made to impress or even get noticed. Wright passed an 11-yard pass in this one, but neither he nor Mack had a good running block, both scoring under 50 from PFF.

Count on the Lions to research the waiver thread this weekend and past Tuesday’s deadline to find a potential solution to this issue.

Offensive line – D

Friday night’s biggest concern was Penei Sewell’s play and it was justified. Detroit’s seventh overall pick and final piece of building their offensive line looked like a rookie that’s going to take his fair share of lumps this season. Beyond the game where he and Tyrell Crosby were pushed back as Boyle ditched his 5-step shotgun (?), Sewell had the opportunity to show off his athleticism which was touted as one of his best. attributes from Oregon. A few games that stood out were a screen in St. Brown where Sewell failed to come out into space and do the block that would have popped the receiver out for good payoff, and play where Sewell failed. go down on a block and clear a path for Jefferson out of the backfield.

Of course, it’s preseason, and Sewell better get a chance to learn from those mistakes now, which is probably why he was the only starter projected onto the offensive line to play in the game. pre-season finale. But in two weeks, the Lions face the San Francisco 49ers, and it’s going to be a hell of a test for Sewell.

Detroit suffered a few injuries along the offensive line in this one. Dan Skipper had to be taken off the field, which unfortunately took him out of the race for a spot on this list, and Logan Stenberg, a player with deep roots in the race for a save position along the inside offensive line, came out lame after a late game.

While the first team’s offensive line will continue to gain the attention and attention of fans, substitutes beyond Crosby are something this coaching staff will take a long and serious look at ahead of Tuesday’s final cups. .

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