Detroit Lions Preseason: What We'll Learn in the Team's Opener Against the Jets
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The starters will likely only play for a series or two, but there is still a lot to be learned by watching the team play.
The Lions overhauled their roster this offseason, specifically along the offensive and defensive lines and in the secondary, so it will be very interesting to see how they look in the early going.
For the offensive line, the starters at right guard and right tackle will be worth noting.
The Lions are set at center with Dominic Raiola as well as at left tackle and guard with Riley Reiff and Rob Sims, but they have quite a bit of uncertainty at the other two spots.
At right guard, there is a three-way competition between Jake Scott, Dylan Gandy and rookie Larry Warford.
Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com said recently that, "everyone seems to be on equal footing right now," but it's not unreasonable to think that whoever starts Friday's contest has the early edge.
At right tackle, the competition between to Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard will be one to look out for on Friday.
Biggest position battle looming at Lions OTAs? Jason Fox vs. Corey Hilliard at right tackle http://t.co/LzEKcW1rdU— Freep Lions (@freeplions) May 14, 2013
Gillian Van Stratt of MLive.com reports that Fox will get the start, but look for the player that is more consistent in the game to come out on top of the depth chart.
There aren't any competitions to watch out for on the Lions' defensive line, but with the starters set, the only thing left to watch for is if the D-line can dominate the game.
The team boasts one of the best defensive tackle tandems in the game in Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley and added defensive ends Ezekiel Ansah, Jason Jones, Israel Idonije and Devin Taylor in the offseason.
Detroit is counting on serious contributions from all of them this season, and if they can dominate the Jets' offensive line, it will be a positive sign for the season to come.
In the secondary, the thing to watch will be if second-round rookie Darius Slay is able to hold his own.
Veteran Ron Bartell currently sits atop the depth chart at right cornerback, but the Lions drafted Slay to start at that position.
If he can avoid being beaten and even make a few plays on the ball, it might not be long before we see Slay consistently running with the first-team defense.
CB Darius Slay splitting time with Bartell on the first team defense. #Lions— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) July 27, 2013
Though it's just the first preseason game, there is plenty on the line for numerous players.
When all is said and done after Friday's game, we may have a much clearer picture of what this Detroit Lions team will look like when they take the field for the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on September 8.
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