The Detroit Lions kick off their preseason this afternoon with a matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. Detroit's starters aren't expected to play a ton of snaps, but there is still plenty to watch out for.
Greg Robinson is expected to get the first crack at replacing the injured Taylor Decker at left tackle. Robinson is starting to show better command of the scheme and the techniques offensive line coach Ron Prince is teaching him, which is a big adjustment from what he was doing in Los Angeles. That comfort level has started to show in practice.
Robinson is trying to hold off free-agent signee Cyrus Kouandjio, who split first-team reps for a time with Robinson in practice. The Lions have three more weeks of practice and four preseason games to decide who will replace Decker, if needed, to begin the regular season.
No one is more excited to strap it up and play a game, albeit a preseason game, than Abdullah, who hasn't played in live competition since Week 2 of last year.
Abdullah is motivated to prove he can be a featured back in this league, and the Lions are going to give him every opportunity to do so. He is a big-play threat every time he touches the ball. He's shifty, and can make defenders miss. That's something this offense and its run game could use a lot more of.
Two rookies in particular are expected to make a big impact early on in their careers. They are linebacker Jarrad Davis and receiver Kenny Golladay.
Davis looks to be a terrific fit in the middle of Teryl Austin's defense, and he gets his first crack at putting his pads to work and making some plays today.
Golladay gives Jim Bob Cooter's offense a big-bodied receiver who could make plays both down the field and in the red zone. He's been one of the most impressive players in camp thus far. Will that continue in the preseason?
This is a big first game for other rookies like cornerback Teez Tabor, linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, tight end Michael Roberts and others hoping to carve out roles early on.
View photos from 2017 Detroit Lions training camp practice with the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 11, 2017.
Stafford isn't expected to play a whole lot against the Colts, which will give coaches and personnel people a very good look at both Jake Rudock and Brad Kaaya.
Rudock has had a firm grip on the backup job for most of camp, but Kaaya is looking more and more comfortable as training camp progresses.
Can Kaaya beat out Rudock for the job? Can he force coaches to keep three quarterbacks on the roster?
Defensive ends Ziggy Ansah, Armonty Bryant and Cornelius Washington aren't expected to play today due to injury. All three are expected to play roles on defense this season. Their absence gives other players an opportunity to step up and turn some heads.
Kerry Hyder Jr. essentially forced his way onto the initial 53-man roster last season because of his play in the preseason. He went on to be a breakout player last year, leading the Lions with eight sacks.
Could there be a similar situation this year with another pass rusher? Hyder and second-year player Anthony Zettel are expected start today. Zettel has looked very good in training camp. Will that continue in to the preseason?
Can Alex Barrett, Pat O'Connor or Jeremiah Valoaga impress with more playing time afforded to them?