It’s the fourth NFL preseason game that has such a lousy reputation. For good reason.
The starters usually play only a series or two, unless they come down with a cold or mysterious illness that keeps them off the field.
Two things, however, are key to the preseason finale.
First, is winning. Second is final decision making for roster spots.
That’s how it will be when the Lions play the Bills at Buffalo on Thursday. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.
Coach Jim Schwartz said his first objective is to win. The Lions are 3-0 in the preseason so far, coming off a dominating 34-10 win over the Patriots on Saturday.
“There’s always roster spots that are being fought for in that last game, maybe even still some playing time. There’s a long season ahead of us, but getting in the good rotations for the opener, seeing a couple more guys, but probably more than anything, (we) want guys to go out and compete, (we) want guys to go win the game,” Schwartz said.
The coach couldn’t or wouldn’t be specific about how many players are on the bubble — deadline for final cut to 53 is Saturday — but he said there are a handful of roster spots that are in question. Obviously most of them are depth positions, although he said the job for punter is still up for grabs between Nick Harris and Ryan Donahue.
Even when the roster of 53 is announced on Saturday, it will not be the final roster. In fact, it’s likely to change quickly if Lions general manager Martin Mayhew picks up any players who have been released from other teams.
Schwartz has ruled out several injured players for Thursday, including Kyle Vanden Bosch, Nate Burleson, Maurice Morris, Alphonso Smith, Nick Fairley and Jason Fox.
Running back Jahvid Best, who sat out Saturday’s game, will play.
Paula Pasche covers the Lions. Follow her on Twitter @PaulaPasche. Read her Lions Lowdown blog at TheOaklandPress.com. Get Lions news delivered directly to your phone by texting the keyword “Lions” to 22700.
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