Every week, we take some of your questions for a Detroit Lions mailbag. To ask a question for a future mailbag, use the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter, email me at email@example.com or drop a note on Facebook.
Now, on to your questions.
Is Abdullah's extended playing time an attempt to trade or a chance to get a good look at him, especially since Kerryon could use the work? #LionsMailbag— Jeremy Glowicki (@glowickj) August 29, 2018
This is a good question and one I’ve been trying to figure out all training camp. Detroit is clearly giving Ameer Abdullah every chance to prove why he should be on Detroit’s roster – or someone else’s. Considering the team’s investment in Kerryon Johnson, that they still have Theo Riddick and that LeGarrette Blount has a different role, it would feel like this should have been a giant showcase for him. If the Lions can’t find a taker at a value they believe is fair, then personally I would keep Abdullah. While he wouldn’t give you as much on special teams as Zach Zenner, he does give you a good backup option if Riddick or Johnson were to go down with injury. The reality is the Lions probably keep only three running backs up on the 46-man roster anyway, so it’s just a matter of what you’re looking for in your No. 4 back when it comes to Abdullah.
Any of the scenarios would not surprise me with Abdullah – him being on the Lions roster, him being released, or him being traded to another team. His amount of work Thursday night could be an indicator there as well.
Do U think the lions made a mistake by releasing Ebron instead of keeping him and trading him? Pro football has lions trading for TE and defensive front? Ur opinion #LionsMailbag— lion fan (@lionfan5) August 29, 2018
At the money he was due for the 2018 season, no, I don’t think the Lions made a mistake in getting rid of Eric Ebron. His fifth-year option salary of $8.25 million was going to be far more than he should have been paid (as shown by what he ended up signing for with Indianapolis) so from a financial standpoint it made sense. Of course, at the time, it seemed like the Lions might have needed that money to try and lure a big-name free agent to help the front seven. That never happened, so the Lions could have afforded Ebron, but they clearly didn’t feel he was worth the money.
Do I think Ebron is better than any of the tight ends the Lions have on their roster at this point? I do. And I wouldn’t have released him without knowing I was landing a Trey Burton or Jimmy Graham or someone of that caliber. But I don’t think they made a mistake based on the cost involved. Just a matter of choice.
Hakeem Valles has had a very good camp from what I've read and seen in the preseason. Any chance he surprises people as the top Tight End Week 1 if Luke Wilson is still banged up? Any other player flying under the radar to keep an eye on? #LionsMailbag— Raymond Nuznoff (@rayray1222) August 28, 2018
Hakeem Valles has to make the roster first, which is not a guarantee. That said, after his play in the preseason, it would seem like he has done all he could to earn that roster spot. If Luke Willson is still banged up – and considering he was in the locker room Tuesday and also on the practice field, it would seem like it is not too serious there – then Valles would have a bigger role. To me, the question would be whether or not Valles is the No. 2 tight end. Willson would still seem like the No. 1 option. But Valles, if his play translates to the regular season (and he’s actually on the roster), might have pushed his way up the depth chart. From a fantasy perspective, if I’m in a very deep league I would take a flier there. Otherwise, I would look at guys like center Leo Koloamatangi, wide receiver Brandon Powell, linebacker Trevor Bates, cornerback Chris Jones and veteran cornerback Sterling Moore as guys who are hanging around that roster bubble. It would not shock me if one or two of those players made the team.
@mikerothstein in 2008, the Lions went 4-0 in the preseason before going 0-16 in the regular season. In 2017, the Browns went 4-0 in the preseason before going 0-16 in the regular season. How much can we really glean from the preseason? #LionsMailbag— Rob Gillette (@rob__gillette) August 27, 2018
The real answer is a lot and not much. I know that sounds bizarre, but it depends on what you’re looking at. If you’re paying attention to records, then not much at all. Preseason records are misnomers because every team has different goals for various preseason games and backups play a good amount. Plus, there’s no real game-planning involved.
But from a how does the team look perspective, there can be things read. I went over a bunch of them earlier this week, including why I have big concerns for the defense, particularly the front seven. If things go consistently poorly with starters in, like it has for the Lions, that’s a reason for worry.