With training camp and the preseason now complete for the Detroit Lions, we’re analyzing the decisions made as the team finalized their 53 man roster Saturday evening with a series of cuts.
Final Training Camp Toss-up: The Lions paired down their roster to 53 on Saturday, with the biggest name releases being Amari Spievey, Chris Greenwood, Corey Fuller and Matt Willis. Any issues with the final cuts?
Secondly, do you believe the team will make a move (trade or otherwise) to land a starting caliber wide receiver prior to opening day next weekend?
Chris Burke: My only issue is at wide receiver. I’m sure the Lions have a reason for keeping Kris Durham over Matt Willis (better chemistry with Matthew Stafford?), but that has not played out on the field in the preseason. Willis was dangerous in the passing game and made some terrific catches, while Durham was relatively nonexistent. The rest, I’m fine with, although Greenwood’s another swing and miss in the draft. Martin Mayhew came in guns blazing with his draft picks, but it seems like there have been more and more miscues in the past couple drafts.
At wide receiver, I don’t think they’ll trade for anyone, so it depends on if they see anything of interest on the waiver wire. (At first glance, I don’t really see it but they might have a different opinion). Some of it may come down to how healthy Ryan Broyles is heading into the year. One other thing to note: I think Joe Fauria made the team because the Lions plan to go to a lot of two and maybe even three tight end looks. That could help negate the lack of depth at WR.
Max DeMara: I’m going to have to agree on Matt Willis. He had the much more impressive, complete body of work from camp through the preseason. I don’t know how he didn’t make the roster, especially over Kris Durham, who didn’t make a noticeable impact at all. Given Michael Spurlock’s ability to play on special teams, his inclusion was certainly justifiable. Durham, though, looks to only be on the team due to his size and relationship with Stafford. The staff seems to have chosen that over hunger and playmaking ability. The loss of Greenwood is tough, but equally frustrating is the fact that Amari Spievey never properly developed. That’s two defensive back draft picks from the last four drafts that have been cast away.
With regard to wideouts, the Lions should do something, or else they’ll be in a situation where Patrick Edwards could become their number two or number three receiver. That was the trouble with Fuller being the only meaningful offseason addition at the position. As his inconsisent preseason has shown, Edwards is not quite up to the level of a top three wideout. There isn’t much out there on the waiver wire that is either, but signing a veteran stopgap like Robert Meacham or Brandon Lloyd could help buy the team time until the trade deadline. If Detroit feels they’re one receiver away, they could make a bigger move then.