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FOUR DOWNS: T.J. Lang makes his Lions debut


T.J. Lang signed with the Detroit Lions this season, in part, because it was his hometown team.

Lang, a Royal Oak native, attended Birmingham Brother Rice High School, and then went on to star at Eastern Michigan University before being drafted by the Green Bay Packers, where he played his first eight seasons professionally.

View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions' preseason Week 2 game vs. New York Jets.

Lang is now a Lion, and he made his Lions debut Saturday night after sitting out last week's preseason opener in Indianapolis. Lang played in three series. He didn't have anything glaring stand out, and the offense scored on two of those drives.

The Lions have been pretty cautious with Lang throughout training camp after he underwent offseason hip surgery. He's always claimed that he'll be ready to roll when the season begins. The fact that he was in the starting lineup and played well Sunday is a great sign he's right on track with his plan.

"I mean, it's all good to obviously get back on the football field," Lang told Fox 2 at halftime Saturday. "I've been pretty limited in practice the first couple weeks of camp. It's good to get out there with the guys, run around a little bit start getting ready for the season.

"I thought we did some good things there in the first quarter when Matt (Stafford) was in. Obviously, we got to protect the quarterback a little bit better but scored 10 points in one quarter so not a bad job for us. Me, I feel like – a lot of room to get better but it's definitely nice to be back on the field."


All four of Marvin Jones Jr.'s four catches Saturday came on Detroit's 11-play, 73-yard drive that culminated with his 5-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Jones has had a good training camp, and head coach Jim Caldwell said he can see a difference in Jones in his second season in Detroit.

"He's better than he was a year ago," Caldwell said. "He's coming out of cuts better, he's running better routes."

Stafford said the same after Saturday's game. He's noticed that Jones is much better at "talking to the quarterback," which is a football term to describe how he's taking the proper depths on his routes, planting his foot and coming back to the quarterback to be a friendly target.

Jones had a good training camp last season and good start to the regular season, but faded a bit down the stretch.

He's said all throughout camp that everything he did this offseason, he did so he can be a consistent performer through 16 games.


Detroit's offense found running the football difficult for most of the night. Detroit had just 82 total rushing yards on 31 carries for an average of just 2.6 yards per game. The struggle was real for the Lions' rushing attack Saturday.

Starter Ameer Abdullah was OK running it during the first three series. He racked up 16 yards on four carries for an average of 4.0 per carry.

Dwayne Washington was Detroit's leading rusher with just 24 yards on eight carries (3.0 average).

Lions coaches like to get to around a 4.0 average as a benchmark for a game. Not only did they not reach that mark, but Detroit had nine rushes where they gained negative or no yardage. That's not good enough, even in the preseason.


Injuries, rehabs and other factors have prevented Detroit's offensive line from playing together a whole lot during training camp.

As it stands right now, Greg Robinson (LT), Graham Glasgow (LG), Travis Swanson (C), T.J. Lang (RG) and Rick Wagner (RT) are the projected starting lineup Week 1 vs. Arizona.

For the first time in the preseason, all five got game action together.

Lang, playing in his first game action, played three series, but the rest of the starters played through the first half. 

"It's good to get T.J. in there and work with the rest of the group," Caldwell said. "I'll have to look at the film and see in detail how we did, but it appears we were solid.

"Rick Wagner got a lot of work in there as well. So, overall, that unit stayed in there quite a bit and I thought they were OK. Matthew (Stafford) was able to get the ball out and not have to deal with a lot of undo pressure."

Stafford said it's really hard to evaluate the line play in the preseason because they don't game plan against defenders like they would in the regular season, but said that when the pocket was good Saturday night, "it was real good."

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