After being the starting return man in the first two exhibition games, Jeremy Ross wasn’t upset to see rookie running back Ameer Abdullah receive that opportunity Friday against the Jaguars.
“I don’t really read too much in who goes first, who goes second (or) different things,” Ross said. “We just do what we’re asked to do.”
On Ross’s only kickoff return, he went for 20 yards compared to Abdullah’s 22-yarder. Ross added two catches for 40 yards, which will help in the competition for one of the final receiver spots, but after being the Lions return man for most of the last two years, he hopes to keep that job.
“I definitely want to be in a situation where I can make plays for my team,” he said. “I love doing returns … so that’s something I love to do and I feel like I’m good at. It’s definitely important.”
With Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Corey Fuller locked into their roles, Ross is among several receivers competing for what will likely be two jobs. Lance Moore has been consistent this summer, and his familiarity with the offense could help him make the team. Greg Salas, TJ Jones and Ryan Broyles have impressed at times, and Ross’s versatility on special teams gives him a shot to stick even if Abdullah wins the return job.
Ross’s 34-yard catch Friday certainly helped his chances with roster cuts this week, but after the game, he said he thought his performance was “OK.” A couple more splash plays on offense or as a returner in Thursday’s exhibition finale would help convince the Lions to keep him around.
“I think he’s been playing well,” offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said of Ross last week. “He’s a guy that is a physical blocker and dependable when he’s running routes. We’ve got a really talented group of guys at the receiver position, and he’s right there in the mix.”