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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Lions to keep 6 linebackers

Lions president Matt Millen told his linebackers earlier this week that the team only plans to keep six backers when it settles its 53-man roster Saturday. That means, assuming the Lions follow the rule of 25 — 25 offensive players, 25 defensive players and three special teamers — the final defensive roster spot will go to a ninth man in the secondary.

Already, the Lions look poised to keep 10 defensive linemen, a position of great depth. If seventh-round pick Landon Cohen is the odd man out, he'll land a spot on the practice squad (if he's not claimed by another team).

At linebacker, only starters Ernie Sims, Paris Lenon and Alex Lewis and second-round pick Jordon Dizon are guaranteed roster spots. Buster Davis, currently running second at middle linebacker, should make the team, too, but that would leave either Sims on the weak side or Lewis on the strong side without a true backup. If the Lions keep three middle linebackers, Dizon is a candidate to move outside to improve his chances of getting on the field.

Gilbert Gardner is the most versatile of the Lions' remaining linebackers, having played both strong and weak side in Indianapolis. Gardner and Anthony Cannon have been alternating as Sims' backup throughout the preseason, while Leon Joe has shown flashes of playmaking ability on the strong side. Cannon made his mark on special teams the last two years, but Millen indicated in his meeting that only five linebackers are likely to dress on gameday.

Cases can be made for safety Greg Blue and cornerbacks Dovonte Edwards and Ramzee Robinson as the ninth defensive back. I'd give the edge to Blue for now for reasons I've already explained, but what happens in Buffalo could be the deciding factor.

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Anonymous Marty said...

Hi Dave,

Thanks for writing these blogs. It is interesting hearing an insider view on what is going on just before the season starts. I have more hope than I expected after seeing how well the first team defense is holding up. The second stringers look a lot like the first stringers from last year (and a lot of them are I guess) so I hope there aren't many injuries this year!


4:55 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

Thanks for reading, Marty. And I'm with you on the hope front. I predicted 7-9 after the draft and said I'd revisit that after the preseason. We've got to get our picks in for our preview section and I'm scouring the schedule to see if there's another win or two in there. Regardless, I think the Lions are a better team.

7:07 PM 

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