Many Lions expected to rest in exhibition finale

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
"He’s a guy that packs a punch in there,” coach Jim Caldwell said of Larry Warford, who has been sidelined with a high-ankle sprain.

Detroit — Lions fans could rest easy knowing most of their starters were at no risk of injury in Thursday's exhibition finale against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field.

Linebacker Tahir Whitehead and defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker were the only projected offensive or defensive starters set to start the game and even a couple players who will likely be top reserves — like guard Manny Ramirez and offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas — got the night off, too.

The injured players who did not play were linebacker DeAndre Levy (undisclosed), guard Larry Warford (ankle) and defensive tackle Caraun Reid (ankle). Rookie cornerback Alex Carter (ankle) was also in street clothes.

With the healthy players, Lions coaches chose to take the safe approach. As expected, wide receiver Calvin Johnson did not play; he did not appear in any of the exhibitions this summer.

In addition to Johnson, Golden Tate, Matthew Stafford, Joique Bell and Eric Ebron, Brandon Pettigrew didn't play. Rookie running back Ameer Abdullah didn't play in the first quarter.

Besides Ramirez and Lucas, rookie Laken Tomlinson, Riley Reiff, Travis Swnanson and LaAdrian Waddle were the offensive linemen who didn't have to play.

On defense, Ezekiel Ansah, Jason Jones, Haloti Ngata, Stephen Tulloch, James Ihedigbo, Glover Quin, Darius Slay and Rashean Mathis were out.

Extra points

… The Lions captains were Ansah, Pettigrew and safety Isa Abdul-Quddus

… Second-year linebacker Kyle Van Noy surprisingly played in the game, less than two weeks after coach Jim Caldwell described his undisclosed injury as "week to week."

… For the Bills, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, linebacker Tony Steward, defensive end Mario Williams, tight end Charles Clay, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, running backs LeSean McCoy, Boobie Dixon and Karlos Willians and wide receivers Robert Woods, Chris Hogan, Percy Harvin, Deonte Thompson and Marquise Goodwin were out.