MLive will chew over each of the Detroit Lions’ positions heading into the start of training camp July 30. Today we wrap things up with the specialists.
Roster locks: K Matt Prater, P Sam Martin, LS Don Muhlbach
Competing: P Kasey Redfern
Notable departures: Andre Roberts, Jimmy Landes
Breakdown: The Lions haven’t changed much here, and after the season they had, why would they? Matt Prater never missed a clutch kick in the fourth quarter last year, or from 50 yards at all, and was named to the Pro Bowl. And he wasn’t even Detroit’s best specialist.
Sam Martin paired his big leg with some outstanding work from the gunners to net 44.2 yards per punt, a team record and the second most in NFL history. He’ll miss the start of camp with an ankle injury, but at this point he is still expected to be ready for the opener. Sorry, Kasey Redfern.
Don Muhlbach was flawless once again as the long snapper last year, and with former sixth-round pick Jimmy Landes out, he’s assured of returning for a 14th season in Detroit. That makes him the club’s longest-tenured player.
Death, taxes and Don Muhlbach, man.
The only real drama here is at punt and kick returner, where Detroit will hold an open competition to replace the departed Andre Roberts. Dwayne Washington, Jace Billingsley, Jared Abbrederis, Jamal Agnew, TJ Jones and Keshawn Martin are among the players who are expected to receive looks when camp opens.
Ameer Abdullah and Golden Tate also have return experience, and don’t discount the idea that either could shag a ball here or there. But their value on offense is also too high for them to land the gig full…
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