Jacksonville, Fla. — The third exhibition game typically provides the best snapshot of how a team will look in the regular season, but the Lions will be without several projected starters tonight in Jacksonville.
As expected, Calvin Johnson will not play and has not yet appeared in a preseason game. Coach Jim Caldwell said it would be his decision whether or not the star receiver would make an appearance, but with rain at EverBank Field, the Lions are taking the precautionary route.
Linebacker DeAndre Levy, defensive end Ziggy Ansah, right guard Larry Warford, defensive end Jason Jones and right tackle LaAdrian Waddle are among the other Lions starters sitting.
Defensive tackle Caraun Reid, cornerbacks Alex Carter and Chris Owens and linebacker Kyle Van Noy are also inactive. And while they remain on their respective injury lists, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and running back Joique Bell are also out.
First-round pick Laken Tomlinson will make his first start of the preseason, filling the left guard spot while veteran Manny Ramirez moves to right guard with Warford recovering from an ankle injury.
With Levy out, Josh Bynes will start at weak-side linebacker. Corey Fuller will start in place of Johnson, and Jermelle Cudjo will start at defensive tackle next to Tyrunn Walker with Ngata and Reid out. Devin Taylor and Darryl Tapp are the starting defensive ends with no Jones or Ansah.
Coach Jim Caldwell said the Lions starters will play a varied amount with some staying in through the start of the second half. Many of the backups who are filling in should get extended play while starters like Matthew Stafford, Stephen Tulloch and Golden Tate could come out before the end of the first half.