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5 things to watch: Lions vs. Jets

One preseason game is in the books, and Detroit Lions coaches and personnel people will now be looking for players to build off their 24-10 victory in Indianapolis.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn told that the biggest thing he's looking for around this time is players who are progressing in their development and stacking good practices and good games on top of each other.

With the New York Jets coming to Ford Field tonight, here's five things to watch for:


There were a number of young players that had good preseason debuts in Indianapolis. What will they do in their second opportunity to impress key Lions decision makers?

Five players who stood out to me last week were: Receiver Kenny Golladay, defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, left tackle Greg Robinson, quarterback Jake Rudock and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin.

Winning roster spots, playing time or key roles is done by taking steps forward in the preseason. Can these five build on their solid preseason debuts?


There was already a buzz surrounding the rookie receiver before last week's game in Indy because of the playmaking ability he's shown in the spring and during the start of training camp. Then he went out and made three terrific catches in Indy, two of which went for touchdowns.

His performance thus far has earned him some run with the first-team offense in practice this week. Golladay has a big frame and possesses both great speed and good body control.

His performance last week will be tough to top, but the Lions want to see continued improvement with his route running and knowledge of all the receiver spots.

One thing Golladay said coaches have emphasized to him is when he's given an opportunity to win a 50-50 ball against a smaller defender, they want to continue to see him making those plays.


Defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. and linebacker Brandon Copeland were lost for the season in the preseason opener due to injury.

It's not a matter of if injuries are going to occur in the NFL, but rather when. Unfortunately for both of those two players, and the Lions, it happened very early.

Head coach Jim Caldwell has always preached a "next man up" mentality, and in this case, it looks like defensive end Cornelius Washington and linebacker Antwione Williams could be the next men up at those spots.

Can they step in and fill the void starting tonight?

Also look for young defensive ends Alex Barrett, Jeremiah Valoaga and Pat O'Connor to make a case for inclusion in the defensive end rotation.


Cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata were healthy scratches in Indy. Most of the starters on offense, including quarterback Matthew Stafford, played just one series.

Caldwell was asked this week if we'd see more of the starters longer into tonight's game. He said the starters will get however much time they think they need to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season.

In Week 2 of the preseason last year in Pittsburgh, some defensive starters played through the first quarter. Stafford played just one series, but it was a 12-play drive that ended with a hit on Stafford and a sack fumble. Understandably, he was done after that.

Don't be surprised if we see a little more of the starters than we did last week, but probably not much more.


Ford Field received a $100 million face lift this offseason that included huge upgrades to the video board, WIFI and sound systems. The Club seats and suites have been revamped, and a number of amenities have been added to the main concourse.

It was an ambitious project by team president Rod Wood and his staff, and they pulled it off in time to debut the improvements to fans tonight.

Enjoy football being back in Detroit tonight, and also enjoy the new Ford Field.

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