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    February 24, 2019 5:09 PM PST
    5 things we learned in the Detroit Lions’ preseason victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers The Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers played their annual preseason Week 3 dress rehearsal game Friday night. It was a wet and sloppy affair that saw the Buccaneers dominate for a majority of the night before two late Detroit touchdowns swung the game in the closing minutes. Here are a few things we learned from the match up. The linebackers must improveGeneral manager Bob Quinn has made it a point to invest in the Lions linebacking corps the past few years and for good reason. The defense’s second line has been the team’s biggest weakness in recent history. Jarrad Davis Detroit Lions Womens Hoodie , Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Devon Kennard and Christian Jones were all added to the lineup over the past two seasons to fix their concerns, but if this preseason has been any indication, the problems still exist. Davis struggled yet again, missing a few key tackles even after getting himself in perfect position to make a play. Reeves-Maybin, who has previously been lauded for his ability in coverage, was torched by running back Ronald Jones for a huge gain in the first half. Jones and Kennard were not particularly bad but they did not do much good on the defensive side of the ball either. If this was truly the game that will give us the best look at how Detroit will play in 2018 then it is clear that the linebacking corps is still a problem. Hakeem Valles is a potential contributorHakeem Valles was a player that was entering this preseason on the roster bubble. New free agency additions Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo were brought in to be immediate contributors and second-year player Michael Roberts was set to step into an expanded role. Through three weeks of preseason Valles has been the only one in the bunch that has stood out. Wilson has only played a limited amount as he is set to start anyways, but Toilolo and Roberts have both been mediocre at best. Valles impressed again on Friday night with three receptions for 38 yards and was one of the lone bright spots on offense in the first half. It is hard to imagine the Lions not keeping him around after the 53-man roster cut Womens Customized Detroit Lions Jerseys , and there is a very real chance he climbs up the depth chart and sees regular playing time this season.The starting spot across Darius Slay is still wide openWhile the Lions All-Pro corner Darius Slay has had his starting role locked up since the beginning of training camp, the starting role at CB2 across from him may still be wide open. Nevin Lawson was the listed starter again on Friday night, but the Buccaneers spent the entire first half picking on him. Lawson was liable for a couple of penalties and let Tampa Bay’s receivers beat him all over the field. The door was wide open for second year player Teez Tabor to step up and impress but he had a relatively quiet night. Newly signed Sterling Moore did not see playing time until very late in the game and DeShawn Shead was absent yet again. The Lions have two weeks to figure out who they need to start at CB2, and right now it looks like none of the options are the right answer. The run defense is bad, but Ricky Jean Francois is goodDetroit’s inability to stop the run has been one of the major story lines of this preseason. In back-to-back weeks the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants have been able to run all over the Lions and that didn’t change on Friday night. Peyton Barber carried the Buccaneers offense down the field on the team’s opening possession before finally gashing the Lions for a 14-yard touchdown run to open the scoring. While the front seven as a whole looked poor defending the run, there was one reprise. Newly signed Ricky Jean Francois looked great on the interior of the defensive line. The defensive tackle has been previously heralded for his gap-stuffing ability and he showed why on Friday. He stuffed a few runs inside and made things harder for opposing running backs by eating up space in the middle. Francois finished the game with six total tackles, second to only Lawson.This team does not look good, at allWhile it was nice to see the Lions finally put one in the win column , Friday night’s game was a disaster. The first and second string offensive line was bullied by the Bucs defensive front, the defensive line was a mess outside of Francois, the linebackers made many crucial errors and the secondary was picked apart by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston. Players that are expected to be major contributors this season failed the team all over the roster. This was supposed to be the week that told us the most about how the Lions will play in the upcoming season, and it was probably their worst preseason performance yet. Happy New Year! The Detroit Lions started the new year by signing a new quarterback to the team in the hopes he can compete for a roster spot in 2019. It already looked sour for former developmental backup Jake Rudock when the Lions did not sign him to a futures deal when given the opportunity to do so, but now that they’re officially bringing in new blood we can probably close the book on the former sixth rounder out of Michigan. The signing of Connor Cook to a futures deal likely isn’t the only move the team makes at quarterback for 2019, but it’s a start.Connor Cook was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fourth round of 2016. 100th overall was far lower than many had projected him as he was being looked at as a potential first or second round pick for much of the draft process. His slide was attributed at the time to some character concerns regarding his ability to lead a team, but considering how his NFL career has gone up to this point it’s just as likely, if not more so Detroit Lions T-Shirt , that his perceived talent was simply higher among the media than it was among NFL teams.Cook has only seen game action twice in the NFL, but he holds the distinction of being the only quarterback in NFL history whose first start was in the postseason, starting the Raiders’ 2016 playoff game against the Houston Texans. The Raiders would go on to lose that game, with Cook completing only 18 of 45 passes for a single touchdown with three interceptions. He would lose his backup spot in 2017 to former first-round pick EJ Manuel, then would later be cut after the Raiders traded for AJ McCarron. With his Raiders career ended by a duo of guys who go by their initials, Cook would spend time on the Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals practice squads in 2018.The Detroit Lions now have two quarterbacks under contract for 2019, Matthew Stafford and Connor Cook. They have not re-signed backup Matt Cassel, but I wouldn’t rule out the veteran’s return should they decide to have a veteran presence in camp. Jake Rudock may still find his feet for an NFL team Detroit Lions Hats , but at this point he is one of only two practice squad quarterbacks who have not signed a futures deal with an NFL team. The other, Nathan Peterman, tried out with the Lions before ultimately landing with Jon Gruden and the Raiders near the end of the 2018 season.