Don't expect Detroit Lions starters to play much in today's preseason opener

Expect the Lions' starters to work up a quick sweat in Sunday's preseason opener against the Colts in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS -- If last year is any indication, the Lions still will have most of their starters work up a quick sweat in Sunday's preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Lions and Colts held their second and final joint practice on Friday, but Lions coach Jim Caldwell said his starters still "need a little work."

"Not certain (how much they'll play Sunday)," Caldwell said. "And every case is going to be a little bit different. Some you may see in there, some you may not."

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Last year, after taking part in joint practices with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Lions played many of their starters for one series in their preseason game at Heinz Field.

Matthew Stafford started at quarterback and drove the Lions deep into Steelers territory before losing a fumble on his final play.

 

 

 

 

 

He completed 4 of 6 passes for 58 yards before giving way to Dan Orlovsky.

The Lions did hold several healthy starters out of their preseason opener last year, including Ameer Abdullah, Haloti Ngata and Ziggy Ansah, and surely will do the same Sunday.

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Eric Ebron returned to practice Friday, but only for position drills and is not expected to play against the Colts. Theo Riddick has been practicing with a red no-contact jersey all of camp. And the Lions occasionally give the 33-year-old Ngata scheduled rest days.

Abdullah said last week that he expects to play on Sunday, and starting cornerback Nevin Lawson said Friday that he hopes to be on the field as well.

The Colts won't have quarterback Andrew Luck, who's on the physically unable to perform list while he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery, or starting center Ryan Kelly, who left Thursday's practice with an injury.

"End of the day, I believe in working," Lawson said. "Any type of work I can get, I'll be happy with it. I'm not a guy that just wants to shy away and say, nah, it's first preseason (game). If I got to work, I'll be glad to do it. I feel like that's the only way I can get better as a player."

Contact Dave Birkett: dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Download our Lions Xtra app for free on Apple and Android!

 

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