Lions Prepare For 2nd Preseason Game

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ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Lions won't give their starters a lot of playing time on Sunday against Cincinnati.
But those involved in the running game will have a lot to prove in that short period.
The Lions have changed offensive systems this year, going from Mike Martz's pass-oriented system to a ball-control scheme designed by new offensive coordinator Jim Colletto.
That means the team will have to run the ball better than last season, which included a league-record minus-18 yards in a game against Arizona. There didn't seem to be much improvement in Detroit's exhibition opener against the Giants.
Tatum Bell, currently the first-string running back, had eight yards on seven carries, while rookie backup Kevin Smith managed 22 on eight rushes.
"We're going to keep calling the plays and we're going to keep working at it," Lions coach Rod Marinelli said Friday. "Every game, we want to get more out of it, so we have to keep pushing."
One problem for the Lions is that they are now using a zone-blocking scheme that involves a great deal of cut blocking. Due to the risk of injury, teams have little chance to practice that, making exhibition games more important.
That's why Marinelli is considering giving the starting offensive line more snaps than his other starters.
"I think we'll do that, and that is a part of the reason," he said. "We're also low on numbers."
Detroit's starters played about a quarter in last week's 13-10 win over the Giants, and will get a little more time to show their stuff against the Bengals.
"It will be a little more than last week -- eight or ten snaps more for the first unit," Marinelli said. "So you're probably looking at 18-22 snaps, but the game will dictate if it is more or less. If we get a bunch of three-and-outs, it might not be that many."
Marinelli also will be focusing on his defensive line's ability to get pressure on the quarterback. Against the Giants, Detroit never got close to sacking Eli Manning in his quarter of work.
"There's no doubt that this is going to be a challenge for us," he said. "This is a game to check the oil on the defense."
Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is known for his fast release, which will give Marinelli's Tampa Two scheme a good test.
"This guy gets the ball out quick, but we can't let him drop back, look one way and then look another way," he said. "That's all on the front line. They have to force the ball out on the first look so the back seven can break on it."
Marinelli also wants to see how his defensive linemen and linebackers match up against Cincinnati's large offensive line.
"They are physical tackle-to-tackle, so you couldn't ask for something better for us right now," he said. "That's a huge line, so our quickness has to be there and we have to have our pad levels and gap control."

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