Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Preseason Positives: Browns @ Lions

Friday night's game against the visiting Cleveland Browns wasn't exactly picture perfect, but we got to see some outstanding individual performances.

Willie Young

Young continued to show dominance wreaking havoc in the backfield. He got to the Browns' new QB Brandon Weeden causing and recovering a fumble. Pressure from Young contributed to Bentley's would be interception intended for Josh Gordon and Bentley's pick intended for Greg Little. The avid fisherman should reel in a juicy stat line this season.

Ronnel Lewis

It's hard to evaluate players when they are going up against another team's second and third string, but Lewis looked promising against the Browns. He was physical, got into the backfield, and had a key stop near the goal line. After one game I think he has the edge on Everette Brown, but it will be interesting to see who makes the cut. As of right now the Lions could potentially have six defensive ends on the roster, though they're likely to only carry four, maybe five. Lewis would be eligible for the practice squad but another team would likely pick him up immediately.

Bill Bentley

Bentley provided a little bit of a mixed bag on Friday night giving up a huge passing play and letting a potential pick-six bounce off of his chest, then coming back to grab a ball away from Greg Little and not letting much else get past him the rest of the night. In short, he looked like a rookie. He flashed the potential that caused the Lions to draft him in the third round this year though, and will hopefully continue to build on that as the preseason progresses. If that happens he'll likely find himself in the Lions starting line up come week one.

Shaun Hill

We likely won't see Hill much after the preseason, but it's good to know that your back up quarterback is ready and capable. Hill looked sharp against the Browns' second string orchestrating two touchdown scoring drives. I thought for sure someone like Miami would try to sign him away this off-season, but I'm glad he's back in Detroit.

The Run Game

 Mikel LeShoure is nursing a hamstring injury after coming of a ruptured Achilles's tendon. Jahvid Best is still sidelined after suffering multiple concussions. Kevin Smith always looks promising but is all too often slowed by injury. Stefan Logan is coming off a strong camp and provides some speed to the Lions' backfield, but his size limits his production between the tackles. Enter: Keiland Williams and Joique Bell.

Williams was in on only 125 snaps in 2011 rushing 58 times for 195 yards giving him a 3.4 yard per average carry with two fumbles and two touchdowns on the season. Those stats are underwhelming at best. Outside of the fumbles, one could make a case that is was the offensive line's inability to run block to blame for Detroit's rushing woes. On Friday the line opened up holes for Williams and he took advantage rushing nine times for 71 yards, a whopping 7.9 yard per carry average. He didn't run much with the starters, but the improvement is promising.

Bell was signed off of New Orleans' practice squad last season and never saw the field. He looked good on Friday rushing for 89 yards on 16 carries for a 5.6 yards per carry average. He'll have a hard time unseating Williams, but at least looks up to the challenge and is showing some promise. He helped the Lions put up 198 rushing yards on Friday and has a solid chance of cracking the 53 man roster.

The Lions' next preseason game is this Friday at 8:00 against the Baltimore Ravens.

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