While winning the first preseason game is a good start, the Lions are still early in the process of whittling the roster from 90 to 53.
Keep in mind the Lions have three more preseason games. No one is completing a depth chart using ink just yet. If players on the bubble get special teams snaps, it’s an indication they might be favored. Although other guys could get more chances on special teams next Thursday at Cleveland.
1. While there has been some concern from the outside about Ziggy Ansah’s lack of experience, instinct is the key for his game. Coach Jim Schwartz said they saw it on film from his one season of starting at BYU. We saw it in the first series when Ansah intercepted a pass from Mark Sanchez and returned it for a touchdown. That’s a splashy play, but he was solid for most of his 20 snaps. He’s going to make Martin Mayhew look very smart sooner rather than later. (That's him on far left goofing around with his defensive line teammates.)
2. The Lions may have a kicker controversy brewing. David Akers, 38, was signed to replace Jason Hanson. But the Lions took a flyer on the 28-year-old Norwegian Havard Rugland, a.k.a. Kickalicious, who gained notoriety with a YouTube kicking sensation video. He was signed for no guaranteed money. On Friday night he kicked field goals of 49 and 50 yards in his first-ever football game of any level. He also kicked off. Now Akers has the experience of kicking under pressure — he was February’s Super Bowl with the 49ers. Rugland has just one preseason game under his belt. Afterward, Schwartz said that every player on the roster is competing for a spot. That includes Rugland. His teammates love him — Ndmaukong Suh said he wants to visit Norway. This could be interesting. (In this photo you can see Jim Schwartz and Matthew Stafford on the sidelines signaling the field goal was good. Not sure they've ever done this in a preseason game.)
3. Jason Fox started at right tackle and Dylan Gandy at right guard. That could change up in the second preseason game although those two did fine. Matthew Stafford did not get sacked while Shaun Hill who finished out the first half after Stafford’s 11 snaps in two series. Kellen Moore who played most of the second half was not sacked so even the depth players on O-line had a good night protecting the quarterback. After starting, Gandy also moved to center with the second group, finishing with 35 snaps. Rookie guard Larry Warford had the most snaps on offense with 53. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Corey Hilliard start at right tackle and Jake Scott at right guard on Thursday at the Cleveland Browns.
4. The two tall rookie tight ends — Michael Williams and Joe Fauria — were on the field plenty and they both got quality time on special teams too. Fauria was on for 39 offensive snaps and eight on special teams, while Williams had 16 offensive snaps and 10 on special teams. This could be a battle until the end. Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler seem to be locks. There’s one more spot.
5. Matt Willis, entering his sixth season as an NFL wide receiver, increased his chances of grabbing the fourth or fifth wide receiver spot. He had three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. He was also given nine snaps on special teams which will be crucial to getting one of those spots. Other wide receiver candidate who got special teams snaps were Patrick Edwards, Terrance Austin, Micheal Spurlock and Chaz Schilens. Edwards, Spurlock and running back Steven Miller returned punts.