Lions-Bills postgame thoughts
Coaches will meet Friday to hash out who's on and who's off the 53-man roster. A couple players helped (and hurt) their cause in Thursday's final exhibition game, a 14-6 win over the Bills. I won't pretend to know exactly what coaches are thinking at this moment, but to the naked here's a few movers and sliders heading into cut day.
Landon Cohen. The rookie seventh-round pick showed up at defensive tackle. He had a sack early, two tackles for loss and four tackles. He's still got an uphill battle with the depth on the defensive line, but he'll at least make coaches think about keeping an 11th lineman or shedding a veteran like Shaun Cody instead. (I know it's unusual, but I'd keep an 11th lineman over a ninth defensive back. None of the secondary players in contention for a roster spot opened eyes like Cohen did and the Lions have already decided to keep just six linebackers.)
Daniel Bullocks. Bullocks wasn't in danger of not making the team, but he saw his first live action in more than a year and came out feeling good. The big test will be Friday, when he gets a day-after report on his surgically-repaired right knee, but a healthy Bullocks solidifies the secondary with eight reliable players.
Brian Calhoun. Calhoun started at running back with Kevin Smith and Tatum Bell out for precautionary reasons, but he lasted just five plays before limping off with a quad injury. Considering his injury history, the Lions will likely cut him a settlement check and move on.
Gilbert Gardner. I thought Gardner played best of the three linebackers Leon Joe and Anthony Cannon being the others in contention for the sixth spot. (Jordon Dizon is a lock to make the team and Buster Davis should earn a spot as well.) He recovered a fumble, made one stop on special teams and had three tackles (though it seemed like more). Cannon is still the best special-teams player of the bunch, and that could tilt the scales in his favor.
Artose Pinner. Pinner played most of the game in place of Calhoun and ran hard, but was pretty pedestrian at the end of the day. He whiffed badly on one block, too, leading to a sack on Dan Orlovsky. If I'm the Lions I'd keep a second fullback (Sean McHugh) over a fourth running back. In a gameday pinch, fullback Jerome Felton can carry the ball. Lions coach Rod Marinelli said Felton was his emergency plan Thursday if something happened to Pinner.
Greg Blue. Last one for the night, Blue pulled a hamstring Thursday, but that may save him from the chopping block. He missed a tackle on special teams in the first half, and with Bullocks' solid night there may not be room for a fifth safety. If his hamstring is serious (or even if it's not, I guess), the Lions can hide him on IR for the year and keep that 11th lineman or an extra corner like Dovonte Edwards or Ramzee Robinson, both of who were up and down Thursday.