The second preseason game is in the books for the Detroit Lions. This past week’s game wasn’t pretty, but it still was an improvement over the preseason opener against the Patriots. Here were five Lions who impressed and five who did not.
5 Who Impressed:
1. QB David Fales
Fales came out of nowhere to a blazing 9-10 start on his passes. After embarrassing himself last week and getting benched in favor of the newcomer Josh Johnson, Fales played with a chip on his shoulder. Fales ended his night with 226 yards and a touchdown. He had some nice passes including a couple of deep shots.
2. DE Romeo Okwara
Okwara was a breakout player in the Lions defense last year and he brought that into this game on Saturday. Okwara forced a fumble that Lions rookie SS Will Harris picked up for a touchdown. Later in the game, Okwara was able to get to the quarterback and get a much-needed sack for his defense.
3. S Will Harris
Harris, as mentioned above, scored the Lions first touchdown of the preseason with his scoop and score off of the Okwara fumble. Harris also added some solid tackles throughout the game — tied for the team-lead with five.
4. LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
Reeves-Maybin played great on Saturday, really showing that he improved over the offseason. He was able to rack up two tackles for a loss as well as a pass break up. Reeves-Maybin was tied for the team lead in tackles with five as well. Despite being undersized for Patricia’s defense, he has been all over the field with his opportunity.
5. LB Jahlani Tavai
Heard a lot about Tavai in training camp and we finally got to see a glimpse of what he can bring to the table. Tavai demonstrated that he understands the system and how Patricia plans on using him this season. As pointed out by Fox broadcaster Chris Spielman, Tavai used his shoulder to position his body to take on an offensive lineman and then bounced off of him to tackle the ball-carrier for a minimum gain. This shows that Tavai is coachable, and putting to use what he has learned.
5 Who Did Not:
1. CB Jamal Agnew
Agnew’s time with the Lions might be closer to the end than most think. Although he made a huge impact in the return game as a rookie, the NFL is slowly phasing out that part of the game. Also, since his injury, Agnew has not even been much a factor when returning the ball. Agnew has been lacking in coverage his entire NFL career. On Saturday, he gave up a 28-yard catch as well as returning a kick out of the end zone in which he only managed to get to the 15-yard line. That cost his team 10 yards by simply not taking a knee.
2. CB Amani Oruwariye
Oruwariye is having a rough go of things so far this preseason. This game was no different than the first one. In addition to his coverage struggles, the developing rookie was also flagged for a 36-yard penalty for defensive pass interference. Rookie corners can take time to adjust to the NFL, fortunately for Oruwariye, he can likely take some time to get better and learn from some veterans this season.
3. C Luke Bowanko
We all remember the snap that went over Josh Johnson’s head that cost the Lions a two-minute drill in a close game. The Texans ended up scoring a touchdown with their extra possession. As a center, you can’t be the cause of a turnover that leads to points for the other team.
4. QB Josh Johnson
I can’t be too hard on Johnson’s performance given it was his first game with a new team after only a handful of practices. However, Johnson only had nine completions on 18 attempts. Not only that, but he also had two turnovers — one being a fumble and the other an interception.
5. TE Isaac Nauta
Nauta did have one catch for 17 yards, but also added another drop to his preseason resume. The seventh-rounder was known for his hands in college as he led draft-eligible tight ends in catch percentage. So far this offseason, he has had a couple drops in key moments. Fighting for a roster spot, you can’t let those opportunities slip through your hands. Nauta also had a penalty which certainly doesn’t help his chances.