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Your guide to watching the Lions’ first preseason game and figuring out its JMMA implications

Jimmy Saddler-McQueen is watching you

Jimmy Saddler-McQueen is watching you

Tonight’s the night. We started the search for the next winner of the James Mungro Memorial Award presented by (after two years, the sponsor is still pending) two weeks ago, but the actual competition begins tonight. For the first time, game tape will be logged. Tape that will, yes, determine jobs, but — more importantly — will determine a winner for the second most prestigious award on the internet.

The winner could claim the award tonight. Remember, it ultimately took Jacques McClendon only one play to exhibit the me-first qualities we encourage.

If you want to watch the next JMMA champion’s “Mungro Moment”©, here is your guide to watching Week 1.

Transactions 

Our initial candidate list was shuffled. The Lions cut three JMMA candidates this week (and Ricardo Silva), and added four others to the roster.

Gone: WR Devin Thomas, LB Alex Elkins, DL Spencer Nealy.

Here and in contention: Trevor Coston, S, Age: 23, rookie undrafted free agent out of the University of Maine.

Brandon King, CB, Age: 26, two years experience. Career NFL games: 8 (zero starts). He was out of the NFL last year.

Adrian Moten, LB, Age: 25, two years experience. Career NFL games: 13 (zero starts). The Lions claimed him off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.  

Xavier Proctor, DT, Age: 22, rookie undrafted free agent out North Carolina Central.

Cut City

That’s right. We’re heading to Cut City before the first game even starts. These players have been removed from JMMA contention for various reason:

WR Corey Fuller, TE Joseph Fauria, DB Domonique Johnson, RB Steven Miller, WR Michael Spurlock.

Football is reported on the most but has the least happen. This rare trait makes it necessary to relax the Rule 7 violations (no features written about a player in the first half of training camp) a little bit. MLive is producing like 24 stories a day, and there are only so many times their reporters can write about Calvin Johnson making sweet catches and Matt Stafford (surprise!) saying the offense is going to be good.

With that said, there’s no excuse for Corey Fuller.

He got by Rule 4 (can’t be drafted in the fifth round or higher) on a technicality, getting selected with the third pick of the sixth round. I didn’t like that.  Honestly, I was looking for a reason to get rid of him.

I found two. TWO whole articles written about him! Well, one was about him and the other was more about Calvin Johnson mentoring him, but still, one and a half articles? I guess all wide receivers really are divas. Goodbye Fuller. That will teach you not to let the NFL’s best receiver give you advice ever again.

As for Fauria, he didn’t really break any official rules, I just don’t like him. He’s this pass-catching tight end from a major BCS school (UCLA). I feel like I should know his name. That’s a major infraction. Plus, he’s become a “fan favorite” among people on the internet who pretend they’re more informed but really, like the rest of us, have no idea. Goodbye Mr. Fauria.

Johnson’s crimes were much more serious. He got the feature treatment from both the Detroit News and the Free Press. That’s JMMA double homicide … Goodbye Domonique.

Michael Spurlock is a victim of having a defined role. He’s a return man. All of the sudden those 56 games of experience and just two starts over his six-year career look less like a JMMA candidate more like somebody who found his niche. We can’t have any of that. … Spurlock, you had a good name, but you must go. Goodbye. That makes Chris Bootcheck Award winners now 0-for-2.

Looking at Miller, I think I would’ve liked the guy. He’s plays a skill position and he’s really fast —  two characteristics I enjoy.

His “feature” story was a borderline violation. His name was not. Steven Miller. Really boring. I already know a Steven Miller. I can’t have another one in my life. That would be confusing. Goodbye, Steven. 

By the way, LaAdrian Waddle, keep impressing in practice and you’re next. We want gamers, not practice players.

The Game

JMMA candidates have been shotgunned throughout the Lions’ official depth chart. Here is who to watch and when.

Starters: No JMMA candidates.

Stafford said the plan is to play the first few series. That comes out to starters playing about the first half of the first quarter. Skip that part. Pretend like you have some sort of social life and aren’t shut in on a Friday night watching fourth-string players play a fake football game. It’ll give you a slight boost of self-esteem. Trust me, you’re going to need it by the fourth quarter.

If you absolutely must watch, take a look at the two rookies, No. 94 Ziggy Ansah and No. 30 Darius Slay, as well as No. 71 Riley Reiff.

Backups: Watch No. 89 Michael Williams, TE; No. 66  LaAdrian Waddle, LT; No. 74 Rodney Austin, LG; No. 62 Darren Keyton, G/C; and No. 63 Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, DT.

If we’re having back-to-back offensive linemen win the JMMA, one of the three guys in this group will likely have to do it. Waddle is probably the best candidate, mostly because his name is LaAdrian Waddle. Austin barely avoided a Rule 7 violation with this story, but got a pass because it didn’t say much other than that Austin was fatter than he was listed at on the roster. Keyton is listed as a guard on the roster but is the No. 2 center on the depth chart. If this is a move to align himself with former JMMA winner Jacques McClendon, who is undergoing the same guard-to-center transition, and get in my good graces, it’s working.

Saddler-McQueen is the favorite right now. He’s second string and his name sounds like he’s three characters in a Pixar Movie. Williams is in a battle for the last tight end spot, making him a legitimate contender as well.

These guys should play out the first quarter and most of the second, possibly taking the game to halftime.

Third-string: Watch No. 82 Matt Veldman, TE; No. 72 Austin Holtz, LT; No. 73 Derek Hardman, RT; No. 95 Ogemdi Nwagbuo, DT; No. 49 Jon Morgan, OLB; No. 57 Brandon Hepburn, OLB.

Veldman is the only mildly intriguing candidate on offense, as he’s fighting for the final tight end spot along with Williams and may actually touch the ball. But Derek Hardman sounds like a porn name, so that’s always nice. Maybe he’ll surprise us.

The defense should be much more interesting. The two outside linebackers will be a factor in a lot of plays. Ogemdi Nwagbuo made a great choice by wearing No. 95. It suits him.

This group should play all of the third quarter and possibly into the fourth.

Fourth-string/super scrubs: Watch No. 45 Shaun Chapas, FB; No. 12 Matt Willis, WR; No. 16 Terrance Austin, WR; No. 1 Cody Wilson, WR; No. 68 Braylon Broughton, DE; No. 69 Xavier Procter, DT; No. 47 Martavius Neloms, S; No. 44 Trevor Coston, S; No. 24 Tyrell Johnson, S; No. 38 DeQuan Menzie, CB; No. 39 Brandon King, CB.

This is going to be a calamity. Hopefully in a good way. But probably not.

At this point almost every one on the field will be in contention. A few notable items:

  • Shaun Chapas is listed as a fullback on the official roster. The Lions don’t have a fullback spot on the depth chart. Is he another running back or do they have plans to use a fullback in the future? Their decision could have huge JMMA implications.
  • Glad to see Cody Wilson get the No. 1. When I think No. 1 jersey, I think Cody Wilson.
  • Adrian Moten wasn’t even listed on the depth chart. He could be the greatest underdog story of all time.
  • But seriously, it will be a miracle if any of the newly signed players (Coston, King, Moten, Proctor) make the team.
  • DeQuan Menzie is a strong name.

Whenever these fellows get in, they aren’t likely to come out until the game is over. And trust me, by then you’ll have had enough.

See you for the recap on Monday.

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