ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions open training camp July 28 in Allen Park, Michigan, and like every team in the NFL, there are questions.
While we won’t know the answers to whether the Lions will be contenders until the end of September at the earliest, the roster as it is constructed now could give some clues. And that’s how we’ll view the Lions as we preview them by position for training camp, concluding today with specialists.
What they might still need: Barring injury, nothing.
Likely roster spots: 3.
What to expect in camp: Prater and Martin’s jobs are set. Devon Bell will get a lot of work as a camp leg, but he won’t be much of a threat to take either job unless something catastrophic happens. Snapper, however, will be something to watch. Draft pick Jimmy Landes will be battling with the longest-tenured Lions player, Don Muhlbach, for one spot. Landes is the favorite, mostly because the Lions invested a sixth-round pick in him. Otherwise, it’d still be Muhlbach’s job for sure.
Reason to believe: Prater was remarkably accurate last season, making 22 of 24 field goals. He missed three extra points but had not missed in four seasons before that. With 14 games in a dome and potentially only one game in truly cold weather, this could be a huge season for Prater. Martin is one of the better young punters in the NFL and is one of the league’s best kickoff men. The two also have a sound hold-to-kick operation. They are some of the better players in the NFL at their positions. Landes was considered an elite college snapper, and Muhlbach is still remarkably good, so the Lions should have a good snapper regardless of who wins the job.
Be concerned because: The snap-to-kick/punt operation can be a fickle thing, and if Landes wins the job, there could be some things to smooth out. Otherwise, this group seems OK.