As always, the Lions used their exhibition games to prepare for the regular season and determine which players would be on the roster.
But while they went about their business, the Lions played a role in a few key NFL storylines during their four games this summer.
From the debut of Cleveland quarterback Johnny Manziel to the finale that convinced Buffalo it needed to sign quarterback Kyle Orton, the Lions impacted a few teams during their exhibition slate.
Granted, the Browns, Raiders, Jaguars and Bills do not look like Super Bowl contenders, but they all have at least a couple of interesting storylines to follow this season.
Here are some ways in which the Lions played a role in their opponents’ seasons:
* The Lions were one of the teams that saw the early potential of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles, the No. 3 overall pick. Thanks in part to his performance against the Lions (10 of 17 for 158 yards and a touchdown), Bortles has a strong case to play this season despite the Jaguars saying Chad Henne would be the starter while Bortles sits on the bench. The highlight for Bortles was his first drive late in the second quarter, and with the Jaguars starting at their own 5, the rookie led them to a 34-yard field goal against the Lions’ starting defense.
* The hype surrounding “Johnny Football” was outrageous entering the Lions’ exhibition opener against the Browns. Manziel struggled against the Lions and missed open targets, finishing 7 of 11 for 63 yards. He did, however, run six times for 27 yards, including a 16-yard gain. Rookie defensive end Larry Webster hit him hard after one pass and rookie linebacker Kyle Van Noy just missed a sack, leading to them being in several photos and videos the following day.
* In Buffalo, the second-year edition of EJ Manuel wasn’t nearly as exciting as the rookie unknown version, and the Lions terrorized the 2013 first-round pick early in the fourth game. Manuel and backups Jordan Palmer and Jeff Tuel, who were both cut, looked so bad that the Bills signed Kyle Orton off the street for $5 million. The Lions sacked Manuel and Palmer twice each, and Manuel was 3 for 7 for 56 yards, including one pass on which he led first-round pick Sammy Watkins into a hard hit by linebacker Ashlee Palmer. Watkins is expected to play in Week 1.
* Many people supporting Matt Schaub in the quarterback competition for the Raiders realized it was a lost cause after the Lions played in Oakland. The veteran went 8 for 13 for 87 yards and an interception and showed no ability to throw downfield. Meanwhile, second-round pick Derek Carr, the fourth quarterback taken this year, finished 9 of 16 for 109 yards and a touchdown before exiting with a rib injury. Matt McGloin also had a memorable moment when he did the Michael Jordan shrug after throwing the winning touchdown pass.
* The Browns cut cornerback Leon McFadden Saturday. Against the Lions, McFaddden, a third-round pick in 2013, gave up two catches, a 13-yarder to Andrew Peacock and a 3-yard catch to Quintin Payton, both of whom were cut. McFadden also had three penalties.
* The Raiders cut wide receiver Greg Little, a second-round pick by the Browns. Against the Lions, he had two catches for 49 yards, but that came on seven targets. It looks like his career could be coming to an end.
* Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns made a strong impression against the Lions with seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. The undrafted rookie from Miami had an incredible 232 yards in the exhibitions and looks like he’ll contribute this season.