Detroit Lions - Cut Choices Show Vision

So the cutdown to 53 is complete. On Monday and Tuesday, we heard about the wave of cuts from 80 players to 53 which I'm sure will evoke a lot of emotions on the upcoming episode of Hard Knocks. The players cut were: (signed to PS if stated)

  • QB David Blough (after the event)

  • QB Tim Boyle

  • RB Godwin Igwebuike

  • RB Justin Jackson (PS)

  • RB Jermar Jefferson (after the event, now PS)

  • WR Maurice Alexander (PS)

  • WR Trinity Benson

  • WR Kalil Pimpleton

  • WR Tom Kennedy (PS)

  • TE Devin Funchess

  • TE Derrick Deese (PS)

  • OT Kendall Lamm

  • OT Obinna Eze (PS)

  • OT Dan Skipper (PS)

  • OL Darrin Paulo

  • OG Kevin Jarvis

  • DT Jashon Cornell

  • DL Bruce Hector (PS)

  • EDGE James Houston (PS)

  • EDGE Eric Banks

  • LB Anthony Pittman (PS)

  • LB Jarrad Davis (PS)

  • CB Saivion Smith (PS)

  • CB Mark Gilbert

  • CB AJ Parker (PS)

  • S CJ Moore

  • K Riley Patterson

Not included in the above was an earlier cut - TE Garrett Griffin who was also added to the practice squad.


Notable people surviving the cutdown process therefore were:

  • WR Quintez Cephus

  • TE Shane Zylstra

  • OL Tommy Kraemer

  • OL Logan Stenberg

  • NT Isaiah Buggs

  • DE John Cominsky

  • LB Josh Woods

  • CB Bobby Price

  • CB Chase Lucas

  • CB Mike Hughes

  • S Juju Hughes

  • K Austin Seibert

Four things this tells us:


1) They're less willing to take mediocre play than we knew before, especially at the Quarterback position


Tim Boyle and David Blough have survived on this roster for quite a long time now, being exactly the people they have always been. What they showed during camp this year and in these preseason games was actually an improvement on last year overall. Tim Boyle particularly had a horrible camp in 2021, looking bereft of talent. And now he goes 12/15 for 99 yards and a TD in the Colts win. And Blough goes 16/22 for 76 yards, a TD and an INT. And yet they are now both off this roster (replaced by Nate Sudfeld). What was acceptable last year is nowhere near good enough. See also Godwin Igwebuike here who showed promise as a kick returner and converted running back, but the fumbling and inability to solve that has meant his days are numbered. He was the "starting kick returner" per Dan Campbell just two weeks ago, never got a chance in a game to return a kick, and now is a free agent - because they knew what they needed to know about him already and someone beat him out.


2) Great production in both camp and the preseason games will be rewarded


Detractors to this point will talk about Tom Kennedy as someone who performed highly in the preseason games, hence the camp qualifiers. Information is scarce about camp performance but there are high-level takeaways from the beat and in-house journalists, and Kennedy, bar a highlight reel catch here or there, was often disregarded.


The people however who did make it through positive production in both instances fully deserve their spot - John Cominsky led the team in tackles and TFLs in the Colts game with 6 and 2 respectively, Tommy Kraemer looks like he's made a step - posting an 80.5 PFF grade this preseason - the 15th best guard in the NFL in preseason (Vaitai was no.3 by the way), Chase Lucas who has made several good INTs in camp, and Bobby Price who tackled really well and poisting a 68.7 PFF coverage grade - a full 10 points higher than the preseason last year.


3) Poor performance in preseason games trumped good performances in camp


Several people were reputed to be having good camps, but when push came to shove, they didn't perform where it counted, examples of which are - Tim Boyle who tanked his final audition, Kalil Pimpleton who missed the catches at the crucial moment, Kendall Lamm who forgot how to block, and Jashon Cornell who was an early warrior in camp with several really nice sacks and pressures, but faded at the back end (the most important bit of it!).


4) They aren't scared to buy into marked improvement from players that could be fleeting


Particularly thinking of Logan Stenberg here, who seems to have flicked the switch since preseason game 1. It could be fleeting, but maybe he's becoming the player we thought we would have when he was drafted in 2020. It could equally apply to John Comsinky who has been a wrecking ball almost since he joined - presumably he would not have been let go so easily had he played like this at his previous stop.


Previous regimes in recent times would have been forgiven for taking the veteran name over the UDFA "up and comer", but this regime is proving again and again that it is more willing to allow merit to be the ultimate arbiter. I can't wait to see what players like Demetrious Taylor can do on the field this year - I won't be surprised to see him take a starting job before the end of it!


What are your thoughts on the cut down to 53? Would you have kept anyone else?

 

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