The Lions closed the preseason with an ugly 35-17 loss to the Browns. Does it matter? Justin Rogers and John Niyo of The Detroit News discuss. Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
Detroit — Here’s who is trending up and who is trending down following the Detroit Lions’ 35-17 preseason loss to the Cleveland Browns.
TRENDING UP: Running back Dwayne Washington
With the Lions resting many key contributors, Washington figured to get a decent look against the Browns, but when Zach Zenner went down with a back injury early in the first quarter, Washington was asked to shoulder the load.
Odds are there’s no place for Washington on the roster, and if that ends up being the case, Washington went out with a bang. The yards per carry isn’t going to blow anyone away, but Washington ran with power, balance and vision we haven’t seen during his three years in Detroit.
He finished the night with 110 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.
TRENDING DOWN: Detroit’s backup quarterback competition
It’s not like Matt Cassel or Jake Rudock were playing well coming into this game, but neither quarterback did much to stake claim at the job of backing up Matthew Stafford.
Rudock was awful in the first half, as the Browns jumped out to a 25-0 lead. He was replaced by Cassel late in the second quarter and the Lions offense finally started to move, at least until the veteran telegraphed a throw directly into the arms of Cleveland’s Nate Orchard, who returned it for a touchdown.
Rudock bounced back and had a couple nice moments in the second half, but like the rest of his preseason success, it came late, against the backups’ backups. Cassell didn’t complete another pass, finishing 4-11.
TRENDING UP: Linebacker Darnell Sankey
Sankey was all over the field, racking up tackles in this one. He finished the night with 12 stops, including eight solo tackles. More importantly to his long-shot roster chances, three of those stops came on special teams.
TRENDING DOWN: Cornerback Chris Jones
Jones got some work with the second-team defense at points during training camp, but in an audition for a longer look with the Lions, probably on the practice squad, the former Nebraska cornerback struggled to stay with his man in coverage, routinely getting beat, including on a 22-yard touchdown pass.
TRENDING UP: Linebacker Eli Harold
The newest Lion didn’t get a lot of reps, but he flashed the potential that led to the Lions sending a future draft pick to the 49ers to acquire him. The rangy edge rusher had a quarterback pressure resulting in an incompletion and also recorded a tackle in the backfield.
TRENDING DOWN: Guard Joe Dahl
This wasn’t a great preseason for Dahl and his struggles were summed up when he was blown off the ball on a snap, falling to the ground and tripping Rudock as he dropped back. That's a sack to forget.
The Lions have invested more than two years into developing Dahl, but might feel better rolling into the season with veteran Wesley Johnson as a backup.
TRENDING UP: Cornerback Nevin Lawson and running back Ameer Abdullah
Lawson and Abdullah didn’t play, which is generally indicative of job security at this point in the preseason. During his postgame news conference, Lions coach Matt Patricia praised Abdullah’s effort and performance this offseason.
TRENDING DOWN: Defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson
Robinson, a second-round pick who should be hitting his stride in his third year, didn’t get the night off like most of the key contributors on defense. He was on the field when the Browns drove more than 80 yards on the opening possession and was wiped out by two blockers on Nick Chubb’s fourth-down touchdown run.