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Four Downs: Ryan Broyles' debut, replacement officials, Jason Hanson's leg and Wendling makes plays

Posted Aug 17, 2012

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First Down

Lions rookie receiver Ryan Broyles told reporters this week that when his number is called this preseason, he’d be ready answer the bell. That despite not practicing a whole lot during training camp this summer.

Broyles wasn’t on the practice field on Wednesday, but that didn’t stop him from getting into the lineup Friday night in the Lions’ 27-12 victory over the Ravens.

The team’s second-round pick made his NFL debut in Baltimore, finishing a short night (two series) with two catches and 26 yards.

"One thing about Broyles is: he knows how to get open," said head coach Jim Schwartz following the game.

That certainly isn't anything to write home about, but it’s a nice step forward for a player who’s had question marks surrounding his name all through training camp.

It was evident Broyles isn’t compeletely healthy, but the fact that he was still able to find the open areas in the defense and make a couple plays at less than 100 percent is a good sign moving forward for the Lions.

"He’s not 100-percent as far as having his speed back," said Schwartz. "He’s healthy and he’s everything else, but he’s going to continue to get more quickness and more speed back.

"It’s just his awareness of where he is on the field, what the defense is doing, how to make a move, those kind of things. We’re only scratching the surface with him. As he physically gets better, you’ll see more and more plays of him.”

Broyles had 349 catches for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns in four seasons at Oklahoma. He had 131 catches as a junior.

Second Down

Simply stated, it was a rough night for the replacement officials. Let’s just say that if the regular officials want to quicken the pace of negotiations with the NFL, they might want to turn on the game tape of Friday’s Lions game.

The officials seemed confused at times, to the point that Lions head coach Jim Schwartz had the red flag out and was ready to challenge the wrong spot on a penalty.

Referee Jerry Hughes left his microphone on for three plays in the third quarter before realizing it.

The officials were slow to spot balls, made the wrong explanations when calling penalties and weren’t decisive with their calls. In all, it was a tough night for the officials.

Schwartz declined to comment on officiating following the game.

The Lions were penalized a total of 10 times for 93 yards in the game.

Third Down

Kicker Jason Hanson is a cool customer after 20 years and 463 made field goals, but his blood pressure was probably a little high when he stepped out onto the field to attempt a 50-yard field goal in the second quarter Friday night.

Hanson, who’s the Lions’ all-time leading scorer and is entering his 21st season, missed a 48-yard field goal in last week’s 19-17 loss to the Browns. He pushed that field goal right last week.

He was right down the middle on his attempt Friday night with plenty of leg to spare.

Rookie Derek Dimke is trying to win Hanson’s job. He converted on his only attempt last week, a 40-yarder, and kicked a 31-yarder Friday.

Fourth Down

The Lions are still trying to figure out how the depth chart at safety will work itself out with Louis Delmas on the mend from knee surgery.

Veterans Erik Coleman and John Wendling have been holding down the fort since Delmas went down early in training camp.

Wendling has been a particularly nice surprise for the Lions all through camp. He had a nice game last week against the Browns and was all over the field against the Ravens.

Against those Ravens, Wendling had four tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and a pass defended. Though it won’t officially count in the statistics, the sack was the first of his career.

What won’t be reflected in the box score was Wendling being in perfect position to prevent a touchdown on a Ray Rice screen pass in the first quarter. Wendling made Rice cut toward the center of the field where pursuit (Cliff Avril) cleaned him up. The Ravens were forced to kick a field goal on the drive.

"He made a great play on that ball down the seam," said Schwartz. "That was a very nice play. From a quarters safety, that’s a play you have to make and he made it. The quarterback tried to rip that ball in there and he did a really nice job of that. He’s been a good tackler, he’s had a good camp, he’s had a couple good preseason games.”

Wendling was a Pro Bowl alternate as a special teams performer last year. He’s making a difference for the Lions on defense early this year.