Analyzing the cuts
The Lions made the smart move Saturday when they decided to keep rookie seventh-round pick Landon Cohen on their 53-man roster. Cohen had a good preseason better than some other defensive linemen that made the team and likely would have been claimed had the Lions exposed him to waivers.
But keeping an 11th lineman at the expense of a third running back (or even a fifth receiver) could prove problematic over the course of a 16-game season. I say "could" because I don't know if the Lions will stay at 11 all year. It's certainly possible they trade or release a veteran like Shaun Cody (or spare fullback Sean McHugh or tight end John Owens once Dan Campbell proves healthy) in order to solidify one of their thinner position groups. Nothing's imminent and I wouldn't expect a Rudi Johnson signing, but if the right move is there it will be made.
For now, Shaun McDonald will handle punt returns and Mike Furrey is in charge of kicks. Kevin Smith will start at running back with Tatum Bell as his backup and rookie fullback Jerome Felton as the emergency No. 3. One injury to any of those five (not to mention top receivers Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams) and the Lions are in trouble, but that would have been the case regardless. It's not like Aveion Cason, Brian Calhoun or Artose Pinner Cason and Pinner were placed on injured reserve Saturday and Pinner was released was going to carry the rushing load.
As for Cohen, don't expect big gameday contributions from him this year. He'll likely join fellow rookie defensive linemen Andre Fluellen and Cliff Avril on the inactive list most Sundays, but he has a bright future ahead of him, especially under Rod Marinelli's tutelage.