NFL Preseason Preview - Detroit (1-1) at Oakland (0-2)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - A banged-up backfield still remains a great concern for Jim
Schwartz heading into the 2012 campaign, though it appears as if the fiery
Detroit Lions head coach will finally have one of his top options available
for the team's preseason showdown with the Oakland Raiders from the O.co
Mikel Leshoure is on track to make his long-awaited Lions debut following a
string of troubling injuries that have sidelined the 2011 second-round draft
pick all throughout his brief pro career. He spent his entire rookie year on
injured reserve after rupturing his Achilles tendon last summer and sat out
Detroit's initial two tests of this preseason with a strained hamstring.
Though he will miss the Lions' first two games of the upcoming regular season
due to a league suspension, Leshoure's expected return is still a positive
development for a Detroit squad that still doesn't know if or when it will
have a healthy Jahvid Best. The playmaking back still has yet to be cleared to
practice after missing most of last season with a severe concussion and seems
destined to begin the year on the physically unable to perform list.
The Lions do have dependable veteran Kevin Smith to hold down the fort in the
interim, and the team has gotten very good work from some lesser names thus
far in the preseason. Reserves Joique Bell and Keiland Williams are both
averaging well over five yards per carry through the first two games, while
undrafted rookie Stephfon Green ripped off a 76-yard touchdown run to cap last
week's 27-12 victory at Baltimore.
Detroit has averaged 182 rushing yards over its two preseason tilts, surpassed
by only San Francisco (189.0) for the most in the NFL over that stretch.
The Lions can throw the ball as well, which the 2011 NFC playoff participants
also demonstrated against the Ravens. Quarterback Matthew Stafford racked up
184 yards and two touchdowns while hitting on 12-of-17 attempts in less than a
half's worth of work, while superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson burned
Baltimore for 111 yards on five catches in his brief stint.
Stafford, who set a franchise record with 5,038 passing yards last season,
hooked up with Johnson for an 18-yard score early in the second quarter and
found Titus Young for a 24-yard touchdown shortly after.
Detroit probably won't have running back Stefan Logan active for Saturday's
clash after he turned an ankle against the Ravens, while its defense will be
without free safety Louis Delmas (knee surgery), end Kyle Vanden Bosch (knee)
and tackle Sammie Hill (back) for a third consecutive week.
The Raiders' medical issues at the moment reside at wide receiver, where
talented second-year man Denarius Moore has been out for nearly all of camp
with a hamstring pull and speedster Jacoby Ford's status for the start of the
regular season is in jeopardy after he sprained his left foot during last
week's 31-27 loss at Arizona.
Their absences have provided an unforeseen opportunity for Rod Streater, an
undrafted rookie who's caught 13 passes over Oakland's first two games. The
Temple product had seven receptions totaling 43 yards against the Cardinals
and will draw a start this week with both Moore and Ford inactive.
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen does hope to have backup running back Taiwan
Jones (hamstring), tight end Brandon Myers (shoulder) and All-Pro punter Shane
Lechler back in action after all were held out of last week's matchup. Center
Stefen Wisniewski (calf) and linebacker Aaron Curry (knees) will likely miss
another week, however.
Carson Palmer and Oakland's first-team offense are slated to work into the
third quarter of Saturday's contest. The veteran quarterback completed 13-
of-24 throws for 107 yards with an interception over the first two quarters of
the Arizona game, while the Raiders' defense came up with four sacks and a
safety in a losing cause.
Oakland will be attempting to avenge a 28-27 home loss to the Lions last
December, in which Detroit roared back from a 13-point deficit with under five
minutes to play. The Raiders have prevailed in four of their five all-time
preseason meetings with the Lions, however, and dealt Detroit a 21-3 defeat at
the Coliseum in 2006 in the most recent exhibition standoff between the teams.
08/23 10:57:47 ET
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