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Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin vs. Jags Offense
The third week of the preseason means the coordinators will be showing a few more of their cards. That suits Austin just fine.
Austin's defense will be predicated on moving guys around to put them in the best position to succeed by creating mismatches and confusing the offense. This week's display of odd pass-rushing angles and multiple fronts will be the first remnants of what could be a very good defense come this fall.
Ziggy Ansah vs. Luke Joeckel
Ansah wasn't listed on Rotowire's injury chart because he isn't injured. However, it still hasn't been determined whether he'll play for the same reasons that Calvin Johnson will make his debut this week—caution.
If he does, we'll get to see how far he's progressed since last year as he goes against Luke Joeckel, who was picked three slots ahead of him in the 2013 NFL draft. Joeckel was limited to five games last year with an injury, so both will be testing the waters against supreme but unproven talent.
Detroit's Running Game vs. Gus Bradley
Detroit hasn't been running the ball that well, and people have noticed. As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press pointed out, the Lions are averaging a paltry 64.5 yards per game. A lot of that falls on the offensive line.
The unit wasn't great last year at opening rushing lanes, and the trend has carried over to this year. It would be nice to see the offensive line create some lanes for Reggie Bush and Joique Bell in the only extended action it will see until the opener.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it's not a huge cause of concern. As Football Outsiders pointed out in its almanac (purchase required), winning teams have large rushing numbers because they run out the clock toward the end of games.
As is often the case for winning teams, the Lions will be looking to set up the run with the pass, something they have done quite well this preseason.
Lions' X-Factor of the Week: Kyle Van Noy
Van Noy's selection in the second round sent shivers of anticipation through the Lions' fanbase. Detroit looked to have acquired that do-everything linebacker that Austin needs to make his defense go.
So far, that hasn't been the case. Aside from his forced incompletion that was close to a forced fumble, he's been largely invisible. But this week's "dress rehearsal" should do the trick, as noted above.