Preseason Week 1: 5 Lions Who Impressed and 5 Who Did Not

In the Friday night preseason opener, there were some Detroit Lions players that really stood out and too many that did not (or did for the wrong reasons). When there are only four preseason games to show your value to the team, roster hopefuls cannot come out flat.

5 Who Impressed:

1. RB Ameer Abdullah 

Maybe I spoke too soon when I said Abdullah was done, or maybe he had just a few solid plays. Either way, he added some extra excitement and made me want to see more of what he can do next week against the New York Giants.  His touchdown in the preseason opener was a combination of vision, patience, and quickness.

2. DE Anthony Zettel 

Zettel applied pressure on the quarterback a couple of times in a game where pressure was scarce. Zettel was also making plays from the backside and six yards downfield in the run game. His nonstop motor keeps him in every play– making him a real pain in the side for opponents.

3. RB Kerryon Johnson 

The player of the game was Kerryon Johnson. Anyone clicking on this article knew he would be on this list. The rookie running back led the team in rushing yards and came up a yard short on leading the Lions in receiving as well. He demonstrated a knack for breaking tackles and showed excellent burst.

4. SS/LB Miles Killebrew

In a game where few stood out at all, Killebrew was able to show versatility and line up at linebacker– a position he may need to learn if he wants a chance to make the roster. His signature play in this game was jumping on a loose ball after the Raiders fumbled the snap.

5. LG Frank Ragnow 

Ragnow stood out in almost every snap he took on Friday. In his 26 plays, he did not allow even a pressure on the QB. He also held a block on Abdullah’s TD run that was nice. It is still early, but Ragnow currently looks every bit like he was worth a first-round selection.

5 Who Did Not:

1. RG Joe Dahl

Dahl did not stand out for the right reasons. In a game where the starting LT, LG, C, and RT, did not allow a single pressure, Dahl allowed multiple pressures and a sack while filling in for TJ Lang. Dahl was pushed into the backfield within the first two seconds of the play far too often.

2. LT Tyrell Crosby

Crosby, the fifth-round rookie out of Oregon, had a few nice plays. To be honest, he also had a few bad ones as well. You can call it growing pains or just trying to learn the new blocking scheme, but the other rookie (Ragnow) did not seem to be affected by those things.

Crosby, along with Ragnow, led Abdullah to the end zone for the teams only touchdown. On the negative side, Crosby also had a holding penalty (albeit a questionable one) to remove Johnson’s 57-yard run. Later on, Crosby also gave up a sack and a couple pressures in his extended look at left tackle.

3. QB Matt Cassel

Cassel did not look good on Friday night. He missed some open receivers and failed to make first down plays when needed. The good news for him is he still has a decent shot at making the team because Rudock looked even worse.

4. QB Jake Rudock

Rudock also missed open WRs, looked out of rhythm at times, almost fumbled a handoff, and showed little pocket presence in Friday’s game. I see the Lions having their franchise QB in Matt Stafford and then having a pair of third stringers behind him. This team is lacking a reliable backup.

5. S Rolan Milligan

Milligan got beat for the only TD allowed by the Lions defense this game. He also gave up his outside containment duty on a 26-yard run play when he dove inside and did not set the edge. Milligan could also be credited with a couple missed tackles as well. He is going to have to step it up the next few games if he wants to crack the roster in a crowded secondary.

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