It is Week 3 of the NFL preseason and tonight we get to witness the Lions’ third and most important exhibition game.
The team traveled 1,084 miles to Raymond James Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Like I have done for the previous two games and will continue to do for the rest of the season, today I will be previewing the matchup with a key offensive and defensive player and then one dark horse.
Offensively, I believe Teo Redding could be a key component for the Lions. Teo Redding was an undrafted free agent out of Bowling Green State University before signing with the Lions. Against the Raiders, Redding had one reception for eight yards and then against the Giants, Redding had two receptions for 28 yards. Redding has improved week in and week out and will continue to see playing time down the stretch. Redding has the excellent catch radius and athletic ability to really help improve the Lions’ offense.
Defensively, Quandre Diggs has really started to make a splash for the Lions within the secondary. During his career thus far, Diggs has recorded 55 tackles, one sack, and three interceptions. This preseason has shown us that Diggs may be one of the hardest hitters within the NFC North and possibly within the NFL. Diggs has excellent play recognition and will sooner be a leader for the Lions. His athletic ability has proven that Diggs is able to contribute both as a safety and a cornerback this coming season.
My dark horse for the Lions is Jalen Reeves-Maybin, whose shown improvement this season after having a quiet rookie year for the Lions. During his rookie season, Reeves-Maybin recorded 30 tackles and half a sack. However, this year has shown a little more as to what we could see from the young linebacker. Reeves-Maybin has seen much more playing time during the preseason and during that span. He’s athletic but has also shown us that his speed and instincts allow him to run from sideline to sideline making plays.
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After finishing 5-11, Tampa Bay looks like a new look team after both the draft and free agency.
Offensively, I am excited to watch Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver, Sergio Bailey. Now, this may seem like a biased opinion as Bailey is a friend of mine but I have been very impressed this preseason. Against the Dolphins, Bailey had four receptions for 52 yards and then against the Titans we saw Bailey haul in a 21-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Bailey has an excellent catch radius and has grown to be an impressive member of the Buccaneers offense. His ability to fight for extra yards and separate himself from defenses will only help him succeed down the stretch.
Defensively, Amari Coleman could be an intriguing member of the Buccaneers secondary. Coleman was recently released from the Detroit Lions and picked up by the Buccaneers. Although Coleman hasn’t seen much playing time, his performance during Week 2 was impressive. Coleman had three total tackles against the Titans in his first game as a member of the team. His ability to play both on defense and as a return man on special teams will set him apart in camp. His ability to recognize plays allows him to step up against top receivers.
Tonight’s dark horse could end up being either Buccaneers defensive linemen Gerald McCoy and Jason Pierre-Paul. Both players are extremely athletic and have had dominant careers up until this point. JPP is still a monster that exhibits impressive speed and quickness to make plays off the edge.
Gerald McCoy has an excellent brew of athleticism and strength in his ability to constantly power through the offensive line to make plays. For being a defensive tackle, McCoy has shown excellent quickness and burst up the field.
Make sure to tune in to CBS at 8:00 PM as the Lions take on the Buccaneers. And follow us on Twitter @FPC_Lions!