It is the third preseason game for the Detroit Lions which means the starters will receive extended action. Here are five matchups to watch for against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
1. Lions Pass Rush vs Buccaneers O-Line
Lions have not been able to get a sack in two preseason games so far this year. The Lions recently made a trade for Eli Harold– a pass rushing outside linebacker from the 49ers. I doubt he will be able to suit up in time for this game, but it shows the Lions front office is not pleased with the lack of pressure.
Maybe it’s just a watered down preseason scheme, but individuals need to demonstrate that they can beat their man across from them.
2. RB Kerryon Johnson vs RB Ronald Jones II
Both of these young backs came into the NFL with high hopes, dreams, and expectations as second-round draft picks in this past Aprils draft. So far, Johnson is proving as advertised (although his numbers last week weren’t as good as his debut in week one).
Jones II, on the other hand, is yet to show his potential– almost to the point of embarrassment. Jones has carried the ball more times than he has rushing yards this preseason, however, the Lions have given up quite a few yards on the ground as well. It is still super early in his career, but this will be a good opportunity to showcase his abilities.
— Steve Frederick (@SportsGuyTweets) August 11, 2018
3. LT Taylor Decker vs Buccaneers Pass Rush
Decker had a bad game last Friday night against the Giants, He acknowledged his poor performance and is ready to move on. Decker can be a top-10 left tackle in the NFL when he brings his A game. In order for the Lions offense to click, the blindside protector to QB Matthew Stafford is paramount.
He may just need more time working with his new left guard, Frank Ragnow, to get on the same page.
4. WR Brandon Powell vs Other Lions Wide Receivers
One of the Lions most interesting roster battles is for the fifth receiver spot (if they keep five WR’s). Powell seems to be in the lead for this role with Billingsley nipping at his heels. With only two games remaining to showcase their talents, I anticipate some extra effort from this groups of players. Hopefully, the quarterbacks can give these guys some opportunities downfield.
— Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier) August 23, 2018
5. LB Jarrad Davis vs Buccaneers Tight Ends
Davis has been impressive for the most part in run defense this preseason. His pass cover skills have been more than called into question once again. I’m sure Lions fans remember Tom Brady carving him up last year in the preseason. Last week versus the Giants, it happened again when Davis gave up an easy touchdown due to over-pursuing on an angle route.