Icon Sports Media Photo....Keep this dude healthy...
The Lions have been playing their final preseason in Buffalo for a while now and the only thing that can be remembered from these preseason ending scrimmages is...the Curse. It seems the Lions always lose somebody really important to injury in this game. They lost James Stewart for the season one year...no running back means bad season. They lost Jeff Garcia for four games one year...no starting quarterback and 0-4 start means...that's right, a bad season.
So the one true victory in this game, like any other preseason game--only more so--is to stay healthy. Keep Stafford and Calvin Johnson and The Kong standing. Keep Jahvid Best healthy. Keep Kyle VanDenBosch healthy...keep everybody healthy. Now, that's pretty much impossible to do over a complete season. The NFL is a violent, brutal game....but this game, game #4, that'll be wiped away from the record books as soon as the clock reads all zeroes...the Lions should be smart enough to keep their stars healthy for this one game.
Again...this game is meaningless...unless you're trying to collect paychecks from an NFL franchise. In regards to who will be playing in a week and a half in the season opener...this game really doesn't do much....but filling out the bottom part of the 53 man roster and the practice squad...this game means everything.
And there are postition battles--big time position battles--still to be resolved.
Quarterback: Yes Stafford is as solid as they come as the starter and nobody's going to unseat Shaun Hill as the backup, but that third string is still up for grabs. Drew Stanton has looked really good...but he's 27 years old and the third string guy is usually kept for a developmental guy...if you're still developing at 27....you're in trouble. So look for Zac Robinson to get a lot of time on the field tonight in Buffalo.
Running back: Jahvid Best is the be all end all for the Lions this season, but he has already been hurt in the preseason and he doesn't have a great history of staying healthy as it is. The backups and change of pace positions are still open. Look for more work from the speedster Aaron Brown (a poor man's Jahvid Best), Mike Bell and Jerome Harrison.
Wide receiver: Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, and Titus Young are all completely safe. Stefan Logan probably wraps up a spot too....so the Lions, most likely, have one spot open for a wideout and three guys battling for it: Maurice Stovall, Derrick Williams, and Rashied Davis. Good luck to the winner....in my book Stovall has looked the best...but tonight really counts for these guys.
Other positions to watch are corner where the Lions have their top three, but a host of other players trying to fill in the final two spots. Punter, where long time resident Nick Harris is battling it out with an impressive rookie in Ryan Donahue.
So anyway, this game is completely meaningless...unless it means sixteen game checks...which means that this game IS meaningless in the standings...but could be very, very interesting to watch...because few things motivate like cash...and this game is all about the benjamins.