In compliance with the NFL and NFLPA’s recent agreement, the Detroit Lions will need to either cut ten players or separate the rookies from the veterans to start training camp.
This leaves the Detroit Lions with a difficult decision to make in the coming days. The new arrangement had been agreed upon last Friday that also included two options. The agreement also axed the entire preseason schedule allowing teams to focus on the regular season amid the COVID-19 concerns.
In an article published by the Detroit Free Press, they describe the two options as follows;
Option one: A smaller initial roster of 80 players instead of 90 to start the offseason. This will need to be completed by this Tuesday, July 28th, when players are expected to report to camp.
Option two: Teams are expected to separate rookies and second-year players into one group, and veteran players into another group but still cut down the roster to 80-players by the start of padded practices no later than Aug.17th.
To me, it’s challenging to separate rookies from veteran players when the organization is expected to lean on a plethora of rookie draft picks this season.
The Detroit Lions are expected to start stand-out corner, third overall pick Jeff Okudah at one of the cornerback positions. Not having him in the same group as veteran Desmond Trufant who Okudah should be glued too for the summer, is difficult.
Detroit is also expected to start either Logan Stenberg or Jonah Jackson at the guard position. Each will battle with Joe Dahl, Oday Aboushi, Kenny Wiggins, Josh Garnett, and maybe even Beau Benzschawel for both guard spots within the offensive line.
In a perfect world, Joe Dahl who proved he can be a reliable starter last season remains the starter at left guard, and one of the rookies emerge as a starter at right guard. It would be nice to see the group workout together from day one, competing with one another, pushing each other, and building continuity along the way. Playing as ‘one’ when it comes to the offensive line is half the battle of success. This group needs to work unitedly, and gelling, learning each other’s tendencies from the first day of camp is a benefit.
Rookie running back D’Andre Swift is expected to have an immediate impact on the Lions offense. He needs to work with the starters, and bond with the starting offensive line leading up to the regular season. Splitting the players up seems detrimental to the young players hoping to start right from the get-go in week one.
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Teams are used to cutting down their roster from 90 players to 53 by the start of week one of the regular season. Cutting ten players before the start of camp Tuesday isn’t the worst thing and seems like the best direction.