ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Burning questions – Lions’ offense, defense, special teams and Bills lack of all three – and position battles that have developed as the Lions closed out the preseason with a 35-13 victory over the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Thursday night.
Q. Bottom line: How much does a lop-sided victory mean in sending a team into the regular season?
A. It depends on the team. If it’s a consistent Super Bowl contender, the result doesn’t mean much, especially against a team like the Bills that was short-handed at quarterback and on defense.
For the Lions, it was good to end the preseason on a winning note, but how they played was more important. They had the advantage in almost every area and maximized it.
A. Zero. Absolutely none. He didn’t connect on two long sideline throws to
The pass to Burleson was chin-strap high. He should have made the catch, and he usually does.
Q. Position battles – receivers: They’ve been in the spotlight and under the gun since training camp opened, and there are reports that the Lions are looking to add a quality receiver. The last preseason game doesn’t count for everything, but who helped his status?
A. I’d say Patrick Edwards treaded water. He broke even with three catches. On an eight-yard catch for the Lions’ first TD, he made a nice move after the grab. But the drop on a sideline route would have been a first down, and he couldn’t quite chase down two long throws by Stafford.
Kris Durham had a TD catch, and
A. There’s a tough call to be made here. Bush is safe, obviously. Bell has moved up steadily. He showed speed and good vision on a 23-yard TD run.
Riddick ran for a TD in the last game, and he had two TD catches against the Bills. He also had a 14-yard run. He showed quickness and the ability to get open and catch the ball.
Leshoure had six carries for 20 yards and three catches for 15 yards, but he also lost a fumble that set up a field goal for the Bills.
Q. What’s the big issue in deciding how many backs to keep on the final 53-player roster?
A. Bush, Bell and Riddick all have basically the same style, although Bell is the biggest of the three at 220 pounds. They’re all quick backs with receiving ability. Leshoure is the only one in the group who could be considered a power back.
Bush, Bell and Riddick all have experience as kick returners. And
Q. Trade winds: Could any of the backs be used as trade bait?
A. If the Lions decide to cut Leshoure, for example, they might offer him in a trade and add a draft pick to sweeten the offer before the cuts deadline at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Q. It sounds like you’re pretty sure the Lions will trade for a receiver.
A. I’m sure they’ll try. Whether they land one remains to be seen.
A. Bentley and Mathis put the offense in position to score touchdowns. Both got in position to make a play, and they both caught the ball. That’s critical, and it didn’t happen often enough last year. The ball is gold. When the other team throws the ball to you, you have to catch it. Bentley and Mathis did that.
As for Young, what he did does count. That was getting two sacks. And what he didn’t do counted. He didn’t get a penalty.
Q. Return specialist: has anyone locked up that job?
A. Not yet. This is another position that requires a lot of evaluation.
Q. Offensive line: Did anything happen to decide who’ll start at right guard and tackle?
A. It looks like rookie
Q. Couldn’t Waddle be a starter eventually?
A. Yes, but the season doesn’t start eventually. It starts Sept. 8 against the Vikings, and it’s as important as any opening game I can remember in eons.
We’ll get to that next week.