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Surprising cuts...big gambles...

Photo by Jeffrey Beall....Alphonso Smith is back...on the roster....

The Lions made a lot of moves over the weekend...some of them pretty risky.

For instance, the Lions cut long time punter Nick Harris in lieu of rookie Ryan Donahue.  The competition during the preseason games looked to be pretty much a draw.  The fact that Harris was due $1.4 mil, while Donahue will make the rookie minimum of $375K is not supposed to have had anything to do with the move...hopefully, Donahue kicked butt in practice because if the Lions are going to make a playoff run...I think I'd be a little more comfortable with a seasoned vet punting out of the back of the endzone in a big game than a rookie. 

Aaron Brown made the original 53 man roster, but was then cut to make room for Keiland Williams, who was picked up on waivers.  Williams is a physical clone of Mikel Leshoure who was put on IR after popping his Achilles tendon early in camp and it is hoped that he will takeover the short yardage role left vacant by Leshoure's injury.  Brown has always shown exceptional speed, but was marked down for his attention to detail in his blocking assignments and route running.  Still, it would have been nice to have a real burner in the backfield just in case anything happened to Jahvid Best...

The Lions kept both Maurice Stovall and Rashied Davis in the wide receiver battle, instead cutting old Lions draftees Tim Toone and Derrick Williams.  Both Davis and Stovall are exceptional special teamers and veteran pass catchers.  Here the Lions probably played it safe.

The Lions reactivated last year's starting CB Alphonso Smith, who had missed all of preseason with a broken foot.  He will probably not play this week against the Buccaneers, but the Lions believed that he'd be game ready long before the six week limit they'd have had to wait if they put him on the PUP list. 

They also cut Nathan Vasher, Prince Miller, and Paul Pratt. 

Also, on the original 53 man roster, the Lions did not have a backup to either offensive guard...this was rectified when they claimed G Jacques McClendon from the Indianapolis Colts.  In a pinch C Dylan Gandy has played some guard and the Lions also tried T Corey Hilliard a bit this preseason.

Jason Hanson excluded, the Lions are bringing a really young team into the 2011 season, the majority of the teams players are entering their fourth season or less.  If the preseason showed us anything (which it probably didn't) this team is not only looks to be hungry....

Keeping my fingers crossed.