Snap counts: Detroit Lions get good look at reserve OL in preseason loss to Steelers –

The Detroit Lions rested several veterans and starters in their 26-20 preseason loss in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, with the team getting a good, long look at the reserve offensive line.

Matt Nelson, Jonah Jackson, Evan Brown, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Penei Sewell were the first-team group, with Brown and Nelson playing all 61 offensive snaps. Logan Stenberg and Tommy Kraemer replaced Jackson and Vaitai at the guard spots for the final 50 reps, with Dan Skipper seeing 40 off the bench in a strong showing for the big man.

The Steelers hit the quarterback five times but couldn’t wrangle either Tim Boyle or David Blough to the ground. Blough avoided pressure with his feet, with Boyle struggling to get much going through the first two quarters and some change in playing time.

“Communication was fine. To be honest with you, both of those guys who played for ‘Deck’ and Frank were very capable people,” Boyle said after the game. “There’s no excuse. I trusted both of them. They played well.”

Detroit’s starting five of Taylor Decker, Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Vaitai and Sewell feel as locked into place as possible, with some question marks concerning those behind them. Through these exhibitions, Tyrell Crosby has remained out with a hamstring strain, pushing Nelson and Skipper into the lineup at tackle. The pair saw action last year, spending the better part of the previous two seasons on the team’s practice squad.

Stenberg is one to watch as a recent fourth-round pick. He didn’t see any offensive snaps as a rookie, then had a new coaching staff and front office come into town. Lions coach Dan Campbell has pointed to the young guard as someone he needs to see growth from in recent days: “He’s done some good things. He had a couple of fundamental issues in the game (vs. Buffalo), but overall, you feel like, ‘OK, this last week he’s beginning to grow a little bit.’ It’s encouraging. That’s what we need from him. He is still young and still learning, but to feel like you’re starting to see the improvement is encouraging.”

In last week’s debut, Pro Football Focus graded Stenberg with a strong 89.7 run-blocking grade, making him one of the top five players on Detroit’s offense. This past week? He had a strong seal on Craig Reynolds’ short touchdown run and put his assignment in the dirt on Blough’s late touchdown pass to Javon McKinley.

See below for more observations from the snap counts before digging into the full rundown:

Tom Kennedy led the receiver room in reps, and once again in the box score with his four catches on four targets for 61 yards. He continues to look like a capable option out of the slot, with his sure hands, quick feet and ability to get low to the ground coming into play on his 31-yard catch on fourth-and-2.

Quintez Cephus and Breshad Perriman drew the first-team work with the offense but didn’t do much. Perriman had two ugly targets from Boyle, while Cephus secured two of his three looks for 15 yards. Amon-Ra St. Brown was limited to 11 snaps, opening the door for more bodies to see action. Geronimo Allison got in on the fun, with one catch for 22 yards on 39 snaps. He was able to use his sneaky combination of length and speed to get open on a crosser. Damion Ratley was back in action too, seeing one target on 11 snaps.

— Tim Boyle played the entire first half, then the first series of the second, with each of his possessions ending in either the end of the half or a punt. He completed seven of 15 passes for only 44 yards on 25 snaps under center. David Blough got the offense clicking in the second half, leading the Lions on three drives to end in a touchdown, scoring all 20 of their points in the final frame. Blough was 12 of 17 passing for 143 yards and one touchdown, running twice for 26 yards.

— Julian Okwara made it through another game seeing lots of reps, with the same true for Austin Bryant. The pair of oft-injured young EDGE rushers could provide a boost to Detroit’s attacking defense if they can stay on the field. Okwara had another quarterback hit, while Bryant had some solid moments, with a facemask penalty on third down in the opponent’s end zone standing out, though.

— Jahlani Tavai and Jalen Reeves-Maybin led the defense in snaps while struggling in the 26-20 loss. Each played 39 defensive snaps, combining for a handful of missed tackles and blown assignments in coverage. Rookie Derrick Barnes impressed in a limited showing once again, putting the pair of linebackers under the microscope.

— Speaking of rookies making an impact in a brief look. Levi Onwuzurike was out there for 17 reps in his pro debut, pushing the issue from the interior on more than a couple of occasions, looking strong for someone fresh off a trip to a back specialist.


OL Evan Brown 61 (100%)

OL Matt Nelson 61 (100%)

OL Logan Stenberg 50 (82%)

OL Tommy Kraemer 50 (82%)

WR Tom Kennedy 42 (69%)

OL Dan Skipper 40 (66%)

QB David Blough 36 (59%)

TE Alize Mack 33 (54%)

WR Geronimo Allison 39 (49%)

QB Tim Boyle 25 (41%)

TE Brock Wright 22 (36%)

WR Quintez Cephus 21 (34%)

OL Penei Sewell 21 (34%)

WR Breshad Perriman 21 (34%)

RB Godwin Igwebuike 20 (33%)

RB Craig Reynolds 17 (28%)

TE Darren Fells 15 (25%)

RB Dedrick Mills 13 (21%)

WR Victor Bolden 13 (21%)

RB Jermar Jefferson 11 (18%)

WR Amon-Ra St. Brown 11 (18%)

WR Damion Ratley 11 (18%)

OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai 11 (18%)

OL Jonah Jackson 11 (18%)

WR Javon McKinley 9 (15%)

FB Jason Cabinda 7 (11%)

WR Darius Jennings 6 (10%)

WR Sage Surratt 3 (5%)


LB Jahlani Tavai 39 (61%)

LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin 39 (61%)

EDGE Julian Okwara 37 (58%)

EDGE Austin Bryant 35 (55%)

S Jalen Elliott 34 (53%)

DL Bruce Hector 32 (50%)

CB A.J. Parker 30 (47%)

S C.J. Moore 28 (44%)

CB Mike Ford 27 (42%)

LB Derrick Barnes 25 (39%)

CB Jeff Okudah 25 (39%)

CB Amani Oruwariye 25 (39%)

S Will Harris 25 (39%)

S Tracy Walker 25 (39%)

DL Miles Brown 24 (38%)

EDGE Charles Harris 23 (36%)

EDGE Robert McCray 22 (34%)

CB Ifeatu Melifonwu 21 (33%)

LB Anthony Pittman 20 (31%)

CB Jerry Jacobs 20 (31%)

DL Jason Cornell 20 (31%)

DL Levi Onwuzurike 17 (27%)

CB Bobby Price 16 (25%)

S Alijah Holder 16 (25%)

CB Nickell Robey-Coleman 16 (25%)

DL Kevin Strong 15 (23%)

DL P.J. Johnson 15 (23%)

LB Rashod Berry 14 (22%)

DL Alim McNeill 14 (22%)

LB Tavante Beckett 5 (8%)


Anthony Pittman 16 (64%)

C.J. Moore 14 (56%)

Mike Ford 13 (52%)

Derrick Barnes 12 (48%)

Bobby Price 11 (44%)

Jahlani Tavai 11 (44%)

Jerry Jacobs 10 (40%)

Ifeatu Melifonwu 10 (40%)

Jalen Elliott 10 (40%)

Jalen Reeves-Maybin 10 (40%)

Austin Bryant 9 (36%)

Julian Okwara 9 (36%)

Tavante Beckett 9 (36%)

Robert McCray 9 (36%)

Jermar Jefferson 9 (36%)

Quintez Cephus 9 (36%)

Alijah Holder 8 (32%)

Godwin Igwebuike 8 (32%)

P Jack Fox 7 (28%)

LS Scott Daly 7 (28%)

Jason Cabinda 7 (28%)

Geronimo Allison 6 (24%)

Jashon Cornell 6 (24%)

Kevin Strong 6 (24%)

Bruce Hector 6 (24%)

A.J. Parker 4 (16%)

Nickell Robey-Coleman 4 (16%)

Dedrick Mills 3 (12%)

Darius Jennings 3 (12%)

K Zane Gonzalez 3 (12%)

K Randy Bullock 3 (12%)

Craig Reynolds 3 (12%)

Alize Mack 2 (8%)

Darren Fells 2 (8%)

Darrin Paulo 2 (8%)

Javon Leake 2 (8%)

Dan Skipper 2 (8%)

Tommy Kraemer 2 (8%)

Logan Stenberg 2 (8%)

Matt Nelson 2 (8%)

Evan Brown 2 (8%)

Tom Kennedy 1 (4%)

Amon-Ra St. Brown 1 (4%)

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