Lions' initial 53-man roster includes three QBs, Josh Johnson as backup
Allen Park — In three weeks, the Detroit Lions' quarterback situation behind starter Matthew Stafford significantly changed.
On Saturday, the Lions announced the team's initial 53-man roster, which included three quarterbacks and Josh Johnson winning the backup job over Tom Savage.
Johnson joined the Lions, his 13th NFL team, in the middle of August after Savage suffered a concussion in the preseason opener. The newcomer quickly impressed coaches and teammates with how quickly he picked up the basics of the offensive scheme, and he went on to outplay Savage in the preseason finale, leading the Lions on their only two touchdown drives of the game.
Behind Stafford and Johnson, the Lions will keep David Blough, whom they acquired in a trade with the Browns on Friday.
Here are some other points of note from Detroit's initial 53-man roster.
► The Lions will enter the 2019 season with three running backs and a fullback. Mark Thompson, despite impressing some with his hard running in the preseason, didn't make the cut.
► As we projected on Friday, rookie Travis Fulgham and Chris Lacy earned the No. 4 and 5 receiver jobs behind the starting trio of Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola.
Fulgham, a fifth-round draft pick out of Old Dominion, closed out the preseason with a bang, catching three passes for 80 yards. He also had another 30-yard reception wiped from the box score when a coach's challenge revealed he came down out of bounds.
Lacy gives the Lions added size on the outside while offering special teams contributions, particularly on the coverage units.
► It was an ugly end to the preseason, but guard Beau Benzschawel scored a spot as a developmental fifth interior lineman.
► General manager Bob Quinn cut two of his 2019 draft picks, seventh-rounders Isaac Nauta and defensive tackle P.J. Johnson. In Johnson's place, undrafted rookie Kevin Strong earned a job after a stellar offseason.
Nauta and Johnson are prime candidates for the practice squad.
► The Lions will run lighter on linebackers to start this year compared to last, cutting Steve Longa, Anthony Pittman, Garret Dooley and Malik Carney. That could bode well for Jarrad Davis' prognosis after he suffered a scary looking leg injury in the team's third preseason game.
It also speaks to the faith in Miles Killebrew's offseason development.
► It was reported on Friday that Teez Tabor was out. In his place, the Lions kept both Dee Virgin and Mike Ford. In total, the team kept seven cornerbacks.
At safety, undrafted rookie C.J. Moore bucked the odds, overtaking veterans Andrew Adams and Charles Washington for a job. Moore was an outstanding special teams performer during the preseason and will likely be asked to fill Washington's long-held role with those units.
Final Lions roster
Quarterback: Matthew Stafford, Josh Johnson, David Blough
Running back: Kerryon Johnson, C.J. Anderson, Ty Johnson, Nick Bawden
Wide receiver: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, Travis Fulgham, Chris Lacy
Tight end: T.J. Hockenson, Jesse James, Logan Thomas
Offensive line: Taylor Decker, Joe Dahl, Graham Glasgow, Frank Ragnow, Rick Wagner, Oday Aboushi, Tyrell Crosby, Beau Benzschawel, Kenny Wiggins
Defensive line: Trey Flowers, Romeo Okwara, Damon Harrison, Mike Daniels, A'Shawn Robinson, Da'Shawn Hand, Kevin Strong, Austin Bryant
Linebacker: Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones, Devon Kennard, Jahlani Tavai, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Miles Killebrew
Secondary: Darius Slay, Rashaan Melvin, Justin Coleman, Jamal Agnew, Amani Oruwariye, Dee Virgin, Mike Ford, Tracy Walker, Quandre Diggs, Tavon Wilson, Will Harris, C.J. Moore
Specialists: Matt Prater, Sam Martin, Don Muhlbach