There are some key decisions to be made in the coming days on the offensive side the football. Who will back up Jared Goff at quarterback? Who is the third running back? Who wins the final two receiver spots?
Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn is going to have some key input on those roster decisions. Lynn spoke to the media Wednesday.
Here are seven takeaways from his media session:
1. Lynn echoed head coach Dan Campbell's concerns from Tuesday when asked about the readiness of second-year running back D'Andre Swift for Week 1 after Swift missed a lot of camp with a groin injury.
Lynn liked the way Swift's worked his way back in the last couple days of practice. Swift had a terrific jump cut and huge run on Tuesday, and made a number of plays in the passing game in Wednesday's practice. Lynn said that's been really encouraging. Lynn is high on Swift's talent and value to the offense, calling Swift a "first-round talent."
2. Lynn was very clear it's been his experience in the NFL as a player, assistant, head coach and coordinator that a lot of players make a roster in the last preseason game. He expects the same with Detroit's roster Friday night against Indianapolis.
He said that in response to a question about the receiver battle. Lynn thinks it's still a close competition between a few guys for the final couple spots, and said special teams is going to play a big role. The players who are No. 4 or No. 5 at receiver are going to have to play well on three or four core teams to make it, so that's something to watch closely in all phases of special teams Friday night against the Colts.
3. Running backs coach Duce Staley has done a fine job developing that room, according to Lynn, and Lynn likes the fact that those backs have responded to coaching and are making the decision as to who might be the third back behind Swift and Jamaal Williams a tough one. Lynn admitted entering camp he thought it would be an easy decision, but he credited some of the young backs for stepping up, playing well and making it tough.
"That third running back spot is very competitive right now," he said.
4. It's been a really nice competition between Tim Boyle and David Blough for the backup quarterback job, according to Lynn. He thought it was a tough spot last week for Boyle starting against Pittsburgh's first-team defense, but also praised Blough for coming in and doing what he did leading scoring drives in the second half against the Steelers' reserves. Something tells me Friday might weigh heavy on the decision.
5. There was an admission from Lynn that it's been frustrating at times not seeing the complete offense together with some of the injuries they dealt with at tight end and running back. But Lynn also says he has a pretty good idea of what this offense can and can't do with the season opener a week and a half away.
View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021.
6. Asked about T.J. Hockenson, Lynn said the sky is the limit for the third-year tight end, who is coming off a Pro Bowl 2020 campaign. Lynn thinks Hockenson is a heck of a matchup weapon in his offense, and thinks there could be some instances when teams use a cornerback to cover Hockenson because a safety or linebacker won't be able to.
7. Veteran wide receiver Breshad Perriman missed some time due to injury. He's a player Lynn wants to see finish the preseason strong.
"I would like to see some more," Lynn said of Perriman. "But I think he's a heck of a receiver."