After months of waiting, the first preseason game is upon us.
Today is going to be one of the longest days of your life. 7:30 definitely can't come soon enough.
This preseason is going to be decidedly different than any one you have ever seen. Normally, the starters play a drive or two in the first game. However, because the team needs to get reps for all 4 quarterbacks, it will be interesting to see how much time each QB gets and how much time they get with the first team. Obviously, throwing to Hines Ward is a little different than throwing to Arnaz Battle.
If we had to take a guess, Ben will start the game and probably play 1 drive. Then Byron will come on and play another drive with the first team. After that, Byron may stay on for a second drive with the second team offense. Dixon should clean things up with the 2nd and 3rd team offense. Charlie Batch may see some time in the 4th quarter.
What to Watch For
1. Quarterbacks, Quarterbacks, Quarterbacks. Who will play, how much time will they play for, and who will they play with are all pressing questions.
2. #3 Outside Linebacker. The spot is up for the taking right now. Harrison and Woodley are easily the first two, but who will be the third? The competition right now is between rookies Jason Worlids and Thaddeus Gibson and special teams ace Patrick Bailey. Andre Frazier probably would have been the clear #3 but he was just placed on IR.
3. Short Yardage Back. Isaac "Red Zone" Redman is back for a second crack at the lineup after spending last year on the practice squad. The Steelers also drafted Jonathan Dwyer from Georgia Tech, and he will be Redman's main competition for the spot. Justin Vincent is still hanging around, but both Redman and Dwyer have looked better in camp.
4. Second year corners. Everyone says that former 3rd round pick Keenan Lewis has had a fantastic camp this year after spending all of last season injured. Joe Burnett saw some time on the field last season, most memorably for his dropped interception against Oakland. Rookie Crezdon Butler has been turning some heads in camp, and these 3 should be in a tight competition all of camp for the dime back position. If one of them has a good enough preseason, they may even press Willie Gay for the nickel back position.
5. Offensive Line. Flozell Adams, Maurkice Pouncey, Jonathan Scott. The Steelers brought them all in to help improve the line. From what we've heard, Jonathan Scott hasn't been very good. Flozell will have to adjust to playing on the right side, and we're still not sure where the Steelers will play Pouncey. Don't read too much into it if the Steelers only play Pouncey at guard against the Lions. The rest of the line will probably be a mish-mash of players as the coaches want to get looks at different players at different positions.
To help our readers get more versed in what is coming our way in games this season, we're working on putting together a new segment for gameday posts. We're calling it "Behind Enemy Lines" and it's a brief Q & A with a blogger from a rival team. Our first "Behind Enemy Lines" guest is our friend Ty from Lions in Winter.
1. Obviously this is the first preseason game, so neither team is going to show much in terms to scheme or gameplanning. That being said, what are you looking for from the Lions for this game to be considered a "success"?
2. We're really excited for the potential Ndomukong Suh vs Maurkice Pouncey matchup in the second half of the game. Are there any other matchups you're looking forward to watching?
3. Which Lions players are you looking for the most improvement out of during this preseason?
4. Any sleeper players that might be surprises in the game?
5. Any other final thoughts?