Detroit Lions trim roster to 53 with few surprises; more changes likely

The Detroit Lions established their 53-man roster on Saturday when they released 25 players including cornerback Teez Tabor, wide receiver Brandon Powell, safety Charles Washington and quarterback Tom Savage.

This roster is fluid and it’s likely GM Bob Quinn will make changes in the next few days as other NFL teams make cuts.

At this point:

Quarterbacks (3) — Matthew Stafford, Josh Johnson and David Blough.

Tom Savage was cut along with David Perez who could find a spot on the practice squad. Johnson just joined the Lions but is an NFL veteran who has played in 33 NFL games, including four starts with the Redskins last year. Blough was acquired in a trade on Friday.

Running backs (4) — Kerryon Johnson, C.J. Anderson, Ty Johnson and FB Nick Bawden.

The biggest surprise was the release of Zach Zenner earlier in the week. Zenner was a staple on special teams. It was clear that they like what they’ve seen from the rookie Johnson, a sixth-round draft pick.

Wide receivers (5) — Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola, Chris Lacy and Travis Fulgham.

Brandon Powell, who played in six games for the Lions in 2018, was cut in the tight competition for the fourth and fifth spots. Lacy’s special teams play gave him an edge, same with Travis Fulgham who was a sixth-round draft pick.

Tight ends (3) — T.J. Hockenson, Jesse James and Logan Thomas.

Expect much more from this position this season with an all-new crew. Hockenson was a standout in training camp and can learn from the veterans. Nauta, a seventh-round pick could return on the practice squad.

Offensive line (9) — Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow, Rick Wagner, Joe Dahl, Kenny Wiggins, Oday Aboushi, Beau Benzschawel and Tyrell Crosby. 

Benzschawel’s versatility helped his cause. The undrafted rookie lineman can play guard and center. It’s unclear if Ragnow, who has moved to center, will be healthy to play in the opener at the Arizona Cardinals. If he goes, look for Glasgow and Dahl to start at the guard positions.

Defensive line (8) — Trey Flowers, Damon Harrison Sr., Mike Daniels, A’Shawn Robinson, Da’Shawn Hand, Romeo Okwara, Kevin Strong and Austin Bryant.

No real surprises here. Bryant was injured early in camp, but he apparently is getting close to a return. Strong is another undrafted rookie free agent. P.J. Johnson, a seventh-round pick could be a practice squad candidate.

Linebackers (6) — Jarrad Davis, Devon Kennard, Christian Jones, Jahlani Tavai, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Miles Killebrew.

No surprises here either. Anthony Pittman (Birmingham Groves, Wayne State) was cut but could be a candidate for the practice squad.

Defensive backs (12) — Darius Slay, Justin Coleman, Rashaan Melvin, Quandre Diggs, Tracy Walker, Will Harris, Amani Oruwariye, Tavon Wilson, Jamal Agnew, Mike Ford, Dee Virgin and C.J. Moore.

Teez Tabor, the 2017 second-round pick, was released. He was sidelined the past three weeks with a leg injury. Tabor was drafted despite his lack of speed and could never make up for it. Another cut, Charles Washington, was a factor on special teams and a great guy in the locker room, but couldn’t carve out a role on defense.

Special teams (3) — Kicker: Matt Prater;  Punter: Sam Martin; Long snapper: Don Muhlbach

Released on Saturday:

CB Johnathan Alston

DT John Atkins

LB Malik Carney

TE Jerome Cunningham

T Andrew Donnal

LB Garret Dooley

WR Jonathan Duhart

DT P.J. Johnson

DT Fredrick Jones

WR Tom Kennedy

C Leo Koloamatangi

LB Steven Longa

TE Isaac Nauta

T Matt Nelson

QB Luis Perez

LB Anthony Pittman

WR Brandon Powell

QB Tom Savage

DT Ray Smith

RB Justin Stockton

CB Teez Tabor

RB Mark Thompson

TE Austin Traylor

S Charles Washington

DE Jonathan Wynn

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Detroit Lions lack of depth shows in 31-3 preseason loss to New England Patriots

DETROIT — It wasn’t that the Lions lost to the New England Patriots 31-3 in the preseason opener, it was how they lost.

Of course, most starters did not play but that’s the way it was for both teams in the game at Ford Field on Thursday.

So no matter how you paint it, it was not pretty. Camp is not over and depth at certain positions (including the offensive line) seems to be an issue

The Patriots scored four touchdowns while the Lions managed just eight first downs.

Lions quarterbacks Tom Savage (who started) and backup David Fales were sacked nine times losing 81 yards. To start the second half guards Kenny Wiggins and Graham Glasgow were in, giving Fales a little more protection.

At the end of that ugly first half New England had amassed 262 yards while the Lions could only manage 28. When it was over the Patriots had 459 total net yards while the Lions had 93.

Need more examples?

Patriots rookie wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, who was not drafted, caught two touchdown passes — once beating safety Miles Killebrew in coverage and then getting past cornerback Mike Ford on the second score. 

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

“Obviously a long night for us here, with the game not obviously how we wanted it to go. Give the Patriots credit, they came out and played hard, they did a great job of executing plays they ran tonight,’’ coach Matt Patricia said. “We have to do a better job of going out and competing and we have to do a better job of executing the plays we need to execute at.’’

Patricia didn’t seem angry, just more determined. He knows what needs to be done.

It’s a loss but it’s a preseason game and, like he mentioned, it was their first game in seven months.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re in the middle of camp, we’ve got to keep grinding away and get better,’’ said Patricia whose team will head to Houston next week for joint practices before the preseason game at Houston on Aug. 17.

A few times he mentioned that the improvements have to start with the coaches.

“You always try to evaluate the first game and some of the things you’re working on when you go through practice,’’ Patricia said. “Things you see in practice you want to make sure that transfers over to the game, that will be a big part of the evaluation.’’

Not too many highlights but running back Ty Johnson had a few nice runs — officially three carries for 22 yards but he had a long scamper called back. While Killebrew got beat on one touchdown he had six tackles which was tied with safety Andrew Adams and rookie cornerback Amani Oruwariye. 

In case there was any question to why most starters did not see action, the Lions had two go down with what could be serious injuries before the end of the first quarter.

Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was carted off with a left leg in jury less than three minutes into the game. Patriots’ Terrence Brooks rolled onto Kearse’s leg and twisted it. The veteran had a chance to make the Lions’ roster as the fourth wide receiver. No word on the severity of his injury, but the replay did not look good. 

Backup quarterback Tom Savage was sacked on back-to-back plays, hitting the top of his head on the second one. He left the game and didn’t return. It looked like it could have been a concussion but no official word.

Patricia said they are in an evaluation process for all the injured players so no updates.

Then in the second quarter, defensive tackle Darius Kilgo suffered what appeared to be a left leg injury. He was helped off the field by trainers.

Zach Zenner was taken into the popup blue tent on the sideline likely to be evaluated for a concussion but he was soon back on the bench.

The Lions have Friday off and then will continue training camp on Saturday and Sunday.