The number one thing I'm looking for Friday night is the same thing I look for in every preseason game: a healthy outcome. The Lions suffered a couple of injuries last week against Washington, so I view Friday more as an opportunity to heal up rather than a "dress rehearsal." As long as the Lions get out of the game without a significant injury, I am not that concerned with their on-field performance. The Lions went 4-0 in the preseason in 2008. Google how the rest of that season went for them.
2. The offense was on fire in the first game against the New York Jets, but then got stonewalled for a little more than 200 total yards against Washington. Why is that? Which offense shows up on Friday night?
The main difference in the two performances was the play of the backups. Matthew Stafford has only played in three series thus far in the preseason. Two have resulted in scores and all three drives went for went for 30 yards or more. I think the longer Stafford plays on Friday, the more successful the Lions will be on offense. The biggest question will be the play of the offensive line, which will be a bit shorthanded after losing Larry Warford to injury last week. I expect Stafford to have a couple scoring drives, but not look dominant on Friday.
3. What's your impression of Ameer Abdullah? How's he fitting into the Lions running game?
Just about everyone in Lions fandom is thrilled with Abdullah. His explosiveness is just what the Lions running offense needed after being ranked 28th last year. In his first preseason game, he busted out a 45-yard run and immediately won the hearts of everyone in Detroit. Abdullah likely won't receive the bulk of carries early in the season, with Joique Bell and Theo Riddick likely to see a good amount of touches. However, Abdullah will see a significant amount of carries and will also be a good play out of the backfield with his agility. His role should only increase as the season rolls on.
4. How has the defensive line looked without Ndamukong Suh? Is it noticeable, or have other players stepped up?
There does seem to be something missing with Suh gone on the defensive front. Both the Jets and Redskins were able to move the ball on the ground against Detroit, and that was especially true with the Lions' backups in the game. The one guy who has stood out is Tyrunn Walker, an offseason pickup formerly with the New Orleans Sanits. He is poised to have a breakout season this year, but beyond him, there hasn't been much to be positive about. That being said, I don't think the Lions are too worried at this point, as Haloti Ngata has yet to play this preseason, and the expectation is that he will pick up a lot of Suh's slack.
5. If you could take one player on the Jaguars offense and one on the defense, who would they be?
For both offense and defense, I'd be looking to upgrade the line and provide depth. I think the best fit for offense would be Brandon Linder, who could immediately step in for the injured guard Larry Warford or help out if rookie Laken Tomlinson doesn't catch on quickly. On defense, I would love to see Chris Clemons in Honolulu Blue. The Lions lack a premier pass rusher and have almost no depth there.