The time has finally come as it’s the end of the 2023 pre-season. Soon, the Detroit Lions will be making cuts to their roster and will have a week of preparation before the season begins on Thursday, September 7 against the Defenders. power hero Kansas City Chiefs. Before they can focus on Kansas City, they need to focus on Carolina Panthers Find out who will make up the team. Detroit lost to the jacksonville jaguars last week New York Giants In their pre-season opener, while the Panthers had yet to win a pre-season game, they lost to New York Jets and giants.
Pre-season records don’t make sense, but it’s still good for these teams to pull off winners and use that confidence to propel them into the regular season. The other important thing about this game is that it is the last attempt of some of these players to make another NFL team in their career. There are battles for positions throughout the team, and if a player manages to impress the coaches in the last game before the roster is demoted, that may be enough to get over the hump.
There were plenty of players to pick from on the Pre-Season Finals watchlist, but these five were the ones that caught my eye the most. Some are fighting roster battles to make the team, others may have the edge and most likely will make the team but need to show another performance to secure it. The last player is the wildcard because the team’s decision can go either way. Let’s go through the five players I’m talking about, why don’t we?
RB Craig Reynolds
Last season, Craig Reynolds was fighting a roster battle and that was a focal point in ‘Blows hardThis year, he entered the season as the leading third-string running back battle, but it wasn’t for long. The Lions signed Justin Jackson, who was Reynolds’ number one competitor for the position, and with Reynolds injured in training camp, Jackson seemed to have taken He took the lead in the job and, weeks later, Jackson abruptly retired and opened up the competition again.
There have been several players fighting for that spot, and despite missing the first game of pre-season, it looks like Reynolds is back in the driver’s seat for the third running back job. He didn’t fare so well against the Jaguars last week with only eight carries for 13 yards, but the fact that he caught the most carries says something. What also appears to be a clear sign that the job is most likely is his performance in training on Tuesday, and a solid performance against the Panthers could knock others out of the job and hand it to Reynolds.
WR Antoine Green
The position he’s been up for grabs throughout the preseason is the fifth wide receiver spot. With Jameson Williams missing the first six games of the year, the Lions will need someone to step up. There wasn’t much to separate from this job as wide receivers Antoine Green, Dylan Drummond, Chase Cota and Maurice Alexander are all finalists for this job. Each of these players has had some lovely moments in pre-season and in training camp, but none have been consistent enough to hold on to the top spot.
Green appears to be the only player drafted in 2023 who may not be on the 53-man roster. He started the pre-season well with three catches for 36 yards against the Giants, but only had one catch for 18 yards against the Jaguars. A strong game against Carolina could result in a seventh player sneaking onto the team, but a poor performance could result in a demotion to the Green’s practice squad.
Green has the potential to make the roster next season if he’s on the training squad this year. He has the talent to play in the NFL, and the front office thinks so. If they hadn’t, they wouldn’t have recruited him again in April. Drummond could be up front at the moment, but if Green can put in a dynamite game against the Panthers, he can get the coaches debating who shouldn’t make the team so Green can.
CB Stephen Gilmour
The position with the most changes in the offseason was at corner back. The Lions signed Cam Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley to give them two starting cornerbacks on the team. Mosley is not currently training with the team and is only training on the bench so his return is currently unknown. However, the Lions need some help in that position and the player who can provide that with Mosley out is Stephen Gilmour.
If the name sounds familiar, it is because his brother Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Stephon Gilmore. While Stefon has a spot locked on the roster, his brother will be fighting for one spot in Charlotte, North Carolina against the Panthers. Stephen had some flashes of quality play in the preseason, getting two total tackles against the Giants, three total tackles, two pass deflections, and an interception against the Jaguars.
Stephen Khalil will face Dorsey, Colby Richardson and other technical players on the squad out of position to make this list. The Lions could decide to carry just six players in Sutton, Jerry Jacobs, Chase Lucas, Will Harris, Brian Branch and Starling Thomas V if Mosley is to be out for a short period of time. If Detroit knows Mosley will be out longer, they can plan to get a seventh cornerback in Stephen while Mosley recovers. A big game against the Panthers on Friday could lead the front office to think about how to use the last spot in the team and how Moseley’s recovery schedule affects him.
DT Benito Jones
The player having a quiet but good season is defensive tackle Benito Jones. With all the talk about the backline focusing on the defensive flanks, not much was said about the big men in between. Isaiah Buggs and Alim McNeill are likely to be the starting players, and 2023 third-round draft pick Brodric Martin appears to be on the roster as well. There’s a small battle going on for the number four defensive tackle position.
Levi Onuzoriki returned to camp injury-free and played well in pre-season, making it difficult for Jones to make the roster. So far this pre-season, Jones has totaled two tackles and 1.5 sacks. The stats don’t jump off the page, but the effort is there and Jones could crack the list as the team’s fourth defensive tackle if he can make some noise against the Panthers on Friday.
Like Green, if Jones doesn’t make the roster, the coaching staff will call out his name. It’s still possible for Jones to be injured away from being called up and getting a chance to contribute to the Lions. Also difficult for Jones is that some defensive ends like John Cominsky and Josh Paschal can play inside at tackle and take away reps and a spot on the roster above Jones. Since Jones is unable to rebound on the outside, this kind of flexibility can make it difficult for him to make the team if he doesn’t have a massive performance in the preseason finals.
FB Jason Cabinda
The final player here is the player who was almost not talked about throughout training camp and the pre-season, linebacker Jason Cabinda. The offense didn’t use Cabinda much last season, as he only had one catch for 5 yards and one carry for 4 yards. What Cabinda does well is play with special teams and that will be something the team discusses next Monday night while roster decisions are made. What has the most influence on this team overall: a special teams linebacker, a sixth cornerback, a fifth or even sixth receiver? Maybe a third quarterback or fourth quarterback makes more sense in the end.
Cabinda hasn’t done much in the preseason so far this year holding just 9 yards. His receiving skills need some work as he has dropped some easy throws, but then again, catching the ball is not one of his strong skills. Known as a special teams player and as a former linebacker, he knows how to put some punches. The offense doesn’t use the fullback position much, and at that point, it’s just a special team position rather than a fullback.
Cabinda may not get many chances against the Panthers on Friday, but he needs to take advantage of every opportunity he’s allowed on the field. Whether he is asked to block a running back on the run, run and catch a pass, or grab the ball himself and run for a few yards, he must prove his worth. To me, you can play special teams well and well, but you have to be able to do more than just special teams unless you’re a kicker, punter, running back, or long snapper. If other players in other positions are expected to play their positions well and special teams are on the roster, then Cabinda should, too.