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NOTEBOOK: Lions have some tough roster decisions ahead

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes appear to have some tough decisions ahead of them the next few days as the Lions have to get from 90 players to an initial 53 by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline.

There's a number of position groups where tough decisions are looming, but maybe none more than the final spots at cornerback and wide receiver after the way some of those guys elevated their play Friday night in Detroit's 26-17 win over Carolina in their preseason finale.

"In some regards it makes it clearer and in other regards it makes it cloudy," Campbell said after Friday's contest. "That's a good problem to have. But, man, it was good to see. Everything we talked about with the DBs and the receivers ... I thought those guys played their hearts out and they really stepped up and made plays for us."

Starling Thomas V, Chase Lucas, Steven Gilmore and Khalil Dorsey are all battling for the last couple spots at cornerback and all of them stepped up and made plays Friday night.

Lucas had a critical interception at the end of the half in the Lions' end zone that thwarted a Carolina scoring opportunity. He also had three passes defended and three tackles. Gilmore defended four passes and returned a fourth-quarter interception for a touchdown that sealed the win for Detroit. Dorsey had five tackles and a key forced fumble late in the second quarter that led to points.

"I saw my opportunity and I just took it," Lucas said of his interception. "I've been doing my thing this whole camp. Doing everything the coaches say and do it to the best of my ability. I feel like today was just the cherry on top of the sundae."

Cam Sutton, Jerry Jacobs, and Emmanuel Moseley (currently on PUP) are the top three cornerbacks on the roster but after that it's fair game, and all of the players vying to fill out the position did good things Friday night.

At wide receiver, Campbell said he was really encouraged by the amount of contested and difficult catches players like Antoine Green and Dylan Drummond came up with.

"I thought Drummond made some critical catches," Campbell said. "I thought Green really showed up. That catch he had where he ran through the dagger for the touchdown was big."

Green caught three passes for 97 yards, including that 70-yard touchdown. Drummond caught five of his six targets for 46 yards, including some really difficult catches.

Kudos to those young players at cornerback and receiver to take advantage of their last opportunity to make a good impression and for making it harder for Holmes and Campbell to get down to an initial 53 on Tuesday.

"It's tough," Campbell said. "Here we are in Year 3 of what Brad and I have done and it's getting that much harder. We are going to have to let go of some really good players. That's tough. That's tough to do. But it also means there's growth and the talent level has gone up."


Veteran kicker Riley Patterson made two short field goals and two extra points, but also missed a 53-yard field goal short off the crossbar and missed an extra point in Friday's win. Campbell said overall Patterson has had a really strong training camp and there's no worry about him or the kicker position heading into the season.

With Patterson handling all the kicking duties Friday night over Parker Romo, it appears to be his job.

Patterson was 13-of-14 on field goal attempts in seven games with Detroit in 2021. In 17 games with Jacksonville last year, he hit 30 of his 35 field goal attempts and was 36-for-37 on extra points.

"I feel like he's been pretty steady and reliable, and I think he just kind of had a rough one today," Campbell said of Patterson. "That's what I'm chalking it up to because he's really been on it I feel like for this training camp."

View photos from the Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers preseason Week 3 game at Bank of America Stadium on Friday, Aug. 25 in Charlotte, NC.


Veteran quarterback Nate Sudfeld has been battling for inclusion on the initial 53-man roster as the third quarterback since Teddy Bridgewater was signed a few weeks ago to be Jared Goff's backup. Do the Lions keep two or three signal callers on the roster?

Sudfeld started the second half Friday night after Bridgewater played the first half, but his night was short lived after he left with a knee injury on his first series of the night. Flushed out of the pocket, it looked like Sudfeld took an awkward step and his knee buckled right at the Panthers sideline as he was running out of bounds.

"It could be a little bit," Campbell said of the Sudfeld injury. "I don't know entirely but if you're saying who I thought might have a more significant injury than the others (who left the game Friday) I think his could be. But we'll know more tomorrow."

Campbell said he thinks it's a hyperextension of the knee for Sudfeld but will know more Saturday after Sudfeld undergoes more testing.

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