Carlos Monarrez Detroit Free Press
Published 2:20 p.m. UTC Aug 31, 2018
Free Press sports writer Carlos Monarrez answers three pressing questions after the Lions’ 35-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday at Ford Field:
Why was defensive end Anthony Zettel playing in the third quarter?
I don’t think many people had defensive end Anthony Zettel on the roster bubble before Thursday night. He had a great training camp and a pretty good season. He proved his worth last year finishing second on the team with 6 ½ sacks. Yet there he was early in the third quarter still playing. Kerry Hyder, largely considered much more on the bubble than Zettel as he returns from a knee injury, hardly played, if at all. Normally, significant playing time in the preseason is reserved for players very much on the roster bubble. If he ends up a roster casualty, it would have to be because he doesn’t fit a natural position in the Lions’ base 3-4 defensive front.
More: Detroit Lions observations: Least encouraging preseason I’ve ever seen
Who should be the Lions’ backup quarterback?
I overhead someone say this in the press box while Rudock scrambled for 21 yards on a fourth-quarter drive that finally resulted in the Lions’ first touchdown: “All he can do is run.” Sure. And get into the end zone. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Rudock has done enough to win the backup job. I’ll admit that neither he nor Matt Cassel lit the world on fire in the exhibition season. But then again, which true backup quarterback really does? Cassel looks more like the strong-armed, pocket-calm, veteran QB. But Rudock simply makes more plays — yes, with his feet and with his arm. He also has more upside being 11 years younger than Cassel. Matt Patricia’s rapport with Cassel may decide this battle more than anything, but Rudock deserves the job.
More: Detroit Lions’ Jake Rudock has done enough to earn backup QB job
What did you think of the preseason as a whole?
It was disheartening at best. Yes, Matthew Stafford hardly played in the preseason. But he’s not the whole team and almost every other starter got some decent playing time. What has been most discouraging is the ineffectiveness of the defense. It may have been too much to ask for so much change so soon from a rookie coach like Matt Patricia. But he got to install his own defensive coaches and he’s supposed to be a defensive guru, so what’s going on? What isn’t translating? It’s a mystery that must be solved quickly if the Lions hope to have any chance at a decent season.
Contact Carlos Monarrez at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.
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