Lions Prepare for Third Exhibition Tilt

With the third preseason game viewed as a dress rehearsal, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz offered no guarantee of what the playing time might be for his starters.

ALLEN PARK -- The preseason can be a grind for players and fans alike.

For players, the grind is obvious. Hard work under the beating summer sun with little rest takes its toll.

For Fans, the greatly anticipated kickoff of another football season cannot come soon enough.

This is the time where both see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Training camp has officially ended and players are excited to move on to the season. For fans, the third preseason game, which is commonly treated as a dress rehearsal for the regular season, is approaching. Many are expecting to see more snaps from the starters with a more regular-season-esque game plan.

The starters played in three drives during the first week and played past the start of the second quarter in last week's win at Baltimore.

So, the hope is, the starters will play into the second half when the team faces Oakland this Saturday.

The logic seems to check out -- but you won't get any guarantees from head coach Jim Schwartz.

"Well, we'll have a plan for playing and it's not going to be exact number of snaps, or a half or more than a half," said Schwartz. "We'll just sort of take it as it comes. We want to play well; we want to win the game. Those are the No. 1 and No. 2 objectives."

The objective of winning the game seems to align with their behavior thus far, as in both games the starters exited with the lead.

Still, there is more to the preseason than just winning. It is an opportunity to see how certain players perform in certain situations.

It also provides real-game action -- with full contact -- making each of the four preseason games important preparation for the season.

"They're all dress rehearsals to some extent," said Schwartz. "I know this much: (the starters are not) going to go through an entire game. So you know we'll be somewhere less than that.

"There's a lot things that you can accomplish and not all of them have to do with play time. There are situations you want to look at guys – you want to put them in certain spots and see how they do. You want to you know see (it) run efficiently on offense, defense, special teams and keep the mistakes down and things like that. Those are the important things to us."

Leshoure to play? One thing to look forward to is the potential debut of second-year running back Mikel Leshoure. Returning from last season's Achilles injury, Leshoure suffered a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the team's first two preseason games.

He has yet to play in an NFL game but seems to be poised to go this weekend.

"He's on track to so hopefully we can keep him on that track," said Schwartz.

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