Tuesday afternoon, it was Detroit Lions make final cuts needed to reach a limit of 53 players. Of course, as you may have been reminded 100 times already, this will not be the final version of the team roster. There will be moves by the Lions over the next 24-48 hours that alter the last few points, and it may provide some additional clarity to some of the decisions made by Lions general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell this week.
Because there were a few surprises the team made. Nothing surprising, like every player cut, was either in “Bubble Watch” or someone wasn’t considered good enough to create an existing bubble. However, there were players that everyone on the staff thought were “IN” and were “OUT” and players we all thought were “OUT” and ended up being “IN”.
Here are the five biggest surprises from the Lions list cuts in 2022.
Germar Jefferson makes the 53-man list
This was by far the biggest surprise of the cuts. Jefferson was upset with the pre-season rush, leading almost everyone to believe he was behind not only Godwin Igwebuike but also recently added Justin Jackson. Pre-season stats speak for themselves:
We won’t know for sure why Jefferson was put on the list until we hear from the lions, but it almost certainly comes down to the special teams. The Lions challenged Jefferson to take his special teams skills to the next level, and the sophomore year’s decline certainly showed he took this very seriously. However, Jefferson doesn’t feel like a better choice for special teams than Igwebuike, and doesn’t have the lunging skills of Jackson’s. Its inclusion in both remains a mystery. Perhaps an existing step in the future will provide some clarity.
AJ Parker outside
This is less surprising, given that Mike Hughes has been challenging Parker at the start of a nickel job for the past few weeks. However, when Campbell was asked about the state of the nickel competition after Sunday’s match against Steelershe referred in particular to Parker.
“AJ has proven to be reliable,” Campbell said. “He is smart. He is cunning. Although he has limitations, he understands his own limitations and can play at least one step ahead, because he is a smart player.”
It was enough to tip the scales for me and all the other staff. However, I expect Parker to return to the coaching staff if he clears the concessions.
The lions maintain three reserve workers for the internal attack
Individually, it’s not at all surprising that Black chose to keep Evan Brown, Tommy Kramer and Logan Stenberg. All three have been fantastic in pre-season, and Stenberg specifically battled his butt off to show he’s made serious strides this season. He set a good enough bar in the last two pre-season games that he may not have been chosen in the fourth round through concessions.
But, nevertheless, it doesn’t seem like the biggest use of roster patches when you’ve now included three backup men for the internal attack. Kraemer alone has the ability to play all three. I know the Lions’ offensive line suffered a lot of injuries up front last year, but that seemed like a relative anomaly.
Few of the sudden black players are waived/injured
When a player is waived/injured, that means the player will hit waivers and if not claimed, they will go to the injured reserve. If they make it to IR, their season is over – unless the team then decides to cut them off by settling the injury. In those cases, they can’t sign anywhere until their injury settlement period expires, and if they were to sign with the original team, they would have to wait an additional three weeks.
On Tuesday, the Lions waived injuries to Eric Banks, Kevin Jarvis, CJ Moore, Trinity Benson and Jason Cornell.
The top three aren’t all that a surprise, as these guys lost quite a bit of time in training camp. Benson was dealing with intermittent injuries, but seemed to fight through them and played 26 shots on Sunday. Cornell missed some recent practice as well, playing seven shots against the Steelers.
Both of these players felt like decent candidates to make up the coaching staff, and maybe even get a chance to play in Detroit if an injury bug hits the starters. But it now appears that they will not play for the Lions in 2022 and may lose their entire season due to injury. This is unexpected, to say the least.
Anthony Bateman cut
despite the existence of A smart and handsome writer predicted this moveI’m sure the humble person would even admit he wasn’t too confident in that decision, especially when he said Bateman was “the last player out”.
Pittman is a talented player who has been one of the team’s best private players in the past three years and has been giving depth to the Lions as a running side who could also fall back as an off-ball back. His concession may be a positive sign of Julian Okwara’s health, but it’s still a pretty big surprise.
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