After having what most people would call a productive training camp and overall preseason, the Detroit Lions had the tough job of sitting down and make the hard decisions on who would stay and be a part of the 53-man roster and who would be waived and released to free agency.
Well after patiently or in some people’s cases impatiently waiting, we know that the Lions have waived the following players:
G Rodney Austin, LB Shamari Benton, WR Kris Durham, WR Patrick Edwards, TE Michael Egnew, DT Andre Fluellen, CB Chris Greenwood, FB Emil Igwengu, LB Brandon Hepburn, C Darren Keyton, RB Mikel Leshoure, WR Andrew Peacock, DT Xavier Proctor, S Nate Ness, G Garrett Reynolds, DT Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, CB Mohammed Seisay, LB Julian Stanford, TE Jordan Thompson, DE Darryl Tapp, T Michael Williams and RB George Winn.
Although, I had some concerns, about the possible decisions of head coach Jim Caldwell and his staff, I am happy to say that I agree with a lot of Caldwell’s decisions, with the exception of one big decision that I did not agree with and that is the decision to not keep running back George Winn.
I made it clear all season long and I made it even more clear in my last article that the Lions would regret not choosing Winn, if they did indeed chose to not keep him. Unless the Lions are somehow able to get him on the practice squad, I think my prediction will come true after Winn gets picked up by another team.
As you can clearly see from my words above, I don’t agree with the decision to waive Winn. He clearly won the running back battle as he proved that he could be an asset to this offense on both the offensive side of the ball and in special teams, which is more than I can say for running back Montell Owens and full back Jed Collins, who the Lions decided to keep over Winn. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to dis-respect what Owns and Collins bring to the table but to pick both of them over another running back like Winn who provides you with points not to mention plenty of play-making in any area that you put him, just doesn’t make sense to me.
If you look back at Winn’s preseason stats you will see that Winn gathered 161 all-purpose yards, not to mention two rushing touchdown which is why at this point, I continue to call him a pure play-maker. The only knock against Winn for me, would be his two fumbles during preseason play but beyond that he clearly showed that if you put him in the back-field at running back, he has the power, vision and burst to make plays but we also know that if you put him on special teams, he has that same great ability to make plays and be an accurate tackler. Like I said, he is a play-maker, but I guess in the Lions minds he wasn’t a big enough play-maker or maybe those two fumbles hurt him. I’m not sure but I stand by original statement that I don’t agree with this decision.
Although it could be a long shot, I really hope Lions can bring him on the practice squad in the hopes that he can move up the ranks but it could be a long shot, considering Winn’s preseason performance and the fact that other teams will probably be interested in him, more than the Lions were.
Nevertheless, let’s move on with some of the Lions other notable rosters cuts and decisions, starting with the decision to let go of wide receivers Kris Durham and Patrick Edwards and keep wide receivers Corey Fuller and Kevin Ogletree.
Now when it comes to Fuller, I couldn’t be happier for him. Coming into this season, Fuller had changed and when I say he changed, I mean he had changed for the better. At 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds, Fuller is already a truly a gifted athlete, that brings speed and explosiveness out of his cuts, making him a weapon as a receiver. However after watching him in this game and back on film, you can see that Fuller has worked on tracking the football down and learned how to come away with the contested catch and it has shown throughout his entire preseason play. I think the Lions recognize that great play and growth and decided to keep him.
The decision I find interesting about of Fuller, Durham, Edwards and Ogletree, is the decision to keep Ogletree over Durham. Now let me make it clear that I am not upset that Durham is cut, I just find it interesting because Durham, had proven to be a solid option for the Lions, seeing that he caught 38 passes for 490 yards last season.
However, if I had to take a guess, I would say that maybe Caldwell and his staff like the veteranship and overall skill set that Ogletree brings. You have to remember that Ogletree was playing in all three-receiver sets in camps proving his versatility, not to mention he is known for being a good route runner who creates separation and catches the ball consistently. Again, I’m not saying that I dislike or like the decision to keep Ogletree, I’m simplifying saying the decision to keep him was interesting.
Which leads me to the Lions next noticeable player release, that player being running back Mikel LeShoure, who the Lions informed on Saturday that he was being waived. While there are still some LeShoure fans out there who might be disappointed to hear this news, I have to say that I agree with Caldwell’s decision to cut LeShoure.
You have to remember that despite his potential, Leshoure was a second-round draft pick that never panned out for the Lions. When he wasn’t consistently being bombarded with nagging injuries, he was an inconsistent runner, who the Lions couldn’t count on. Then to makes matter worse, LeShoure didn’t do much this off-season or during preseason play to assure the Lions that he should be here.
You may think I’m being harsh but at the end of the day, LeShoure being waived is the right decision for the Lions. Not only do the Lions let go of someone who doesn’t help them but the Lions also open up the door for some one else to step up and produce, in this case that player could be Theo Riddick, who the Lions did decided to keep, along with Montell Owens and Jed Collins who the Lions also kept, as I mentioned earlier.
After that, the only offensive move that stands out to me, is the decision to keep quarterback Kellen Moore. Now why is this interesting? It’s interesting for the main fact that there was plenty of speculation that Lions would only be possibly keeping two quarterbacks and although Moore performed very well during preseason there was talk that he wouldn’t be one of those two quarterbacks.
Nonetheless, I am happy to see that the speculation was wrong and that Moore is still a part of the Lions team. While I don’t know if he will ever see the field while he is with Detroit, I think he has shown that in a very short amount of time, that he can succeed and lead an offense if given the opportunity. Which is good because if needed, he can provide the Lions with a traditional yet highly-intelligent drop-back passer, who can fit into a pro-style offense and make accurate throws under pressure. If he doesn’t stay with the Lions for the long haul, there is the thought that he could be possibly used as trade bait. I know it may be a long shot but you never know there could be a team out there who is willing to take a chance on Moore and give up someone nice for him. We will have to wait and see.
Now on the defensive side of the ball, there were only a few roster cuts and moves that stuck out to me, one of the positive moves being the decision to keep defensive end George Johnson, who I though truly earned his roster spot with his great play during preseason. During the Lions four exhibition games, Johnson did not only have nine tackles and 2½ sacks, which led all defensive linemen but he also caused a forced fumble.
Although I find his preseason stats impressive, I really find his competitive mindset and impressive motor even more intriguing. Coming into camp, Johnson was considered to be another body or filler but instead of accepting that, Johnson came into camp with an edge and chip on his shoulder, proving that he was more than meets the eye, which is one of the reasons I feel the Lions decided to keep and I couldn’t be happier about it.
After Johnson, I think the other positive to take away from the Lions defensive roster cuts and moves was the decision to keep safeties Isa Abdul-Quddus and Jerome Couplin.
When it comes to Abdul-Quddus, I feel he has brought the ability to make consistent reads and good hands to the secondary. Despite dropping an easy interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Abdul-Quddus did earn two interceptions during preseason play and both of those interceptions have been because of his good reads, which stands out to me. Plus, he
As for Couplin, I have always been impressed with his game, for the main fact, that he brings some good hard-hitting to the secondary. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, he already has great size for the safety position but he also brings good skill. On the field, he is heavy hitter who squares into his opponent and wraps up which is plus for me, considering so many young players have a bad habit of throwing their shoulder instead of wrapping up their opponent and taking them down. Then if that’s not enough, I also love the fact that he is a very instinctive safety, who makes good reads. In coverage, he has shown that he has the fluid movement and technique to going sideline to sideline but he has also shown that he has the ability to make plays in the middle of the field. Plus, his long arms give receivers and tight ends plenty of trouble in coverage.
Overall, I like the decision to keep both players and if you ask me I think both players along with Don Carey will add value to the safety position, as expected starters Glover Quinn and James Ihedigbo shine on the field.
Although there weren’t many defensive roster cuts that I can really say I didn’t agree with I will say that I was sad to see Detroit native and cornerback Chris Greenwood be waived. Although he didn’t do much to shine in preseason, I honestly felt Greenwood had a good camp, and was trying to make up for the unfortunate injuries that he had in his first two season with the Lions.
Nonetheless, I understand the decision to let him go. Although he didn’t make any big mistakes or show any big flaws, the athletic corner never did much to stand out or solidify his role. When you consider that the Lions are reportedly interested in trading or signing more experience cornerbacks, it makes sense that they would move guys like Greenwood, Mohammad Seisay and Jonte Green, who were also cut at some point this week and go with just five cornerbacks: Rashean Mathis, Darius Slay, Cassius Vaughn, Bill Bentley and rookie Nevin Lawson. However none of that changes the fact that I wish Greenwood along with others all the best, you never know, some of these young men, could end up back with the Lions, on the practice squad, I suppose only time will tell.
So there you have it, my full breakdown of the Lions roster decisions and cuts and their finalized 53-man roster. Below you will see look at the Lions official 53-man roster, along with all of their roster cuts.
Quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford, Dan Orlovsky, Kellen Moore.
Cut: No Cuts.
Running backs: Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Theo Riddick, Montell Owens, Jed Collins.
Cut: Mikel Leshoure, George Winn, Emil Igwenagu.
Wide receivers: Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Jeremy Ross, Ryan Broyles, Kevin Ogletree, Corey Fuller, TJ Jones (PUP List)
Cut: Kris Durham, Andrew Peacock, Patrick Edwards.
Tight ends: Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron, Joseph Fauria.
Cut: Michael Egnew, Jordan Thompson.
Offensive line: Riley Reiff, Rob Sims, Dominic Raiola, Larry Warford, Corey Hilliard, LaAdrian Waddle, Travis Swanson, Cornelius Lucas.
Cut: Rodney Austin, Garrett Reynolds, Michael Williams, Darren Keyton
Defensive line: Ezekiel Ansah, Jason Jones, Devin Taylor, George Johnson, Larry Webster, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, C.J. Mosley, Caraun Reid.
Cut: Darryl Tapp, Andre Fluellen, Xavier Proctor, Jimmy Saddler-McQueen.
Linebackers : Stephen Tulloch, DeAndre Levy, Tahir Whitehead, Kyle Van Noy, Ashlee Palmer, Travis Lewis.
Cut: Shamari Benton, Brandon Hepburn, Julian Stanford.
Cornerbacks: Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis, Bill Bentley, Cassius Vaughn, Nevin Lawson
Cut: Chris Greenwood, Mohammed Seisay
Safeties: Glover Quin, James Ihedigbo, Don Carey, Jerome Couplin, Isa Abdul-Quddus
Cut: Nate Ness
Special Teams: Nate Freese, Don Muhlbach.
Cut: No Cuts.
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
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