W2W4: Detroit Lions


The Detroit Lions (1-0) and Oakland Raiders (0-1) continue their preseason Friday night in Oakland, California.

1. Nick Fairley's status: The fourth-year defensive tackle has turned into the major storyline of Lions’ camp in the past week after a lackluster opening game against Cleveland and then an apparent demotion to the second-team defense during practice this week. There are a lot of concerns surrounding Fairley, who has had issues with his weight during his time with the Lions. After showing up in the spring and in training camp in good shape and at a good playing weight, Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said he is again trying to find a comfortable playing weight. That can’t be a good sign for Fairley, who has an immense amount of potential but has been inconsistent throughout his career. That inconsistency led Detroit to decline his fifth-year option this offseason, making this a contract year. Watching where he lines up and how many snaps he plays Friday will be interesting.

2. Will Calvin Johnson play at all? At some point this preseason, the star wide receiver will take some preseason snaps with Matthew Stafford and the first unit. The question is whether it is this week in Oakland or next week against Jacksonville at home. Johnson shouldn’t need much work in the preseason as he has looked exceedingly sharp during training camp, making difficult catches with ease. There’s always a question of putting him out there and risking injury, but Caldwell made it sound like everyone will play a little bit during the preseason, so this might be the week Johnson makes a cameo.

3. Can George Winn and others make roster pushes? There are a few players who have played well enough to at least be considered surprises for roster spots after the first few weeks of camp. Winn, who has displayed a lot of power running during practices and the preseason opener, would be one. Jerome Couplin, the undrafted free-agent safety, has also been receiving a longer look during practices and lined up with the second unit this week. Same with veteran safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, who had a good preseason opener. Abdul-Quddus was always on the roster bubble, but Winn and Couplin have made up significant room and at this point should be at worst heavy practice-squad candidates. In addition to those three, the Lions would likely want to see receiver Ryan Broyles have a second straight consistent game as he continues to come back from an Achilles injury. There’s also the backup quarterback situation. While Dan Orlovsky still has a hold on the No. 2 position, another strong performance from No. 3 Kellen Moore could push this into somewhat of a competition.