Ben Graham wins punting job; Lions inform 10 others of expected release

Posted by ttwentyman on August 31, 2012 – 4:05 pm

The competition between Ryan Donahue and Ben Graham for the Lions punting duties had been too close to call until Thursday’s preseason finale against the Bills. Now it seems Graham’s strong performance Thursday night has won him the job.

The Lions are expected to release Donahue before tonight’s 9 p.m. deadline to trim the roster from 75 players to 53.

Graham averaged 45.3 yards on three punts Thursday punts and flipped field position on a 49-yarder that angled just out of bounds with the Lions pinned deep in their own territory late in the fourth quarter.

“It was a great punt,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said after the game. “Ben bailed us out. Ben had a great punt. We were gassed on special teams. Those guys played a lot of football in the second half. We lost a lot of guys in the second half and a lot of guys were playing every snap on defense or every snap on offense and covering every kick and we needed him to paint the sideline on a ball and he did a great job of it.”

Graham played seven games with the Lions last year after Donahue suffered a quad injury and averaged 44.1 yards per punt.

Donahue, who won a training camp battle with Nick Harris for the punting job last year, averaged 42.7 yards a punt in eight games with the Lions as a rookie. He averaged 38.7 yards per punt in 12 attempts this preseason.

The Lions have also announced the expected release of  guard Pat Boyle, defensive end Ugo Chinasa, tight end Alex Gottlieb, wide receiver Nate Hughes, defensive tackle Edmon McClam, linebacker Carmen Messina, wide receiver Wallace Miles, defensive tackle Tracy Robertson, cornerback Ross Weaver, and tight end Austin Wells.

Additionally, ProFootballTalk sited a league sources in announcing Friday afternoon that cornerback Alphonso Smith will also be among the cuts.

The Lions traded tight end Dan Gronkoswki to the Broncos for Smith back in 2010.

Smith has had an inconsistent two seasons with the Lions. He looked great when he was intercepting eight passes over than span, but also earned a reputation as a gambler and was beat in coverage nearly as often.

That leaves 10 additional cuts for the Lions by tonight’s deadline.

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Ben Graham wins punting job; Lions inform 10 others of expected release”

  1. By THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ on Aug 31, 2012 | Reply

    I hope Alphonso finds a team. He seems to be a concentric minded player. Not too much of a multitasker, but he does have skills…Thanks for your contributions….

  2. By ROBERT on Aug 31, 2012 | Reply

    Good luck to fonz. When Gunning gets fired after this season,I hope the new team that is lucky enough to get you dosnt hire him.Would love to see back in NC as a panther

  3. By Jerry on Aug 31, 2012 | Reply


    We need a top flight running back, a safety who can cover, a cornerback or two and a punter. If you can upgrade anywhere else…GO FOR IT!

    Also, with a glut of decent backup quarterbacks out there, get someone who can throw the ball.

  4. By Jerry on Aug 31, 2012 | Reply

    Otogwe is out there, GET HIM! It’s a waiver pickup and will not cost that much.

  5. By vern huxley on Aug 31, 2012 | Reply

    Otogwe is out there with a bad hammy

  6. By JohnfromOz on Aug 31, 2012 | Reply

    Well done, Big Cat. Shows that Geelong’s class stretches all the way to the U.S. Go Benny G.

  7. By Joe Villeneuve on Aug 31, 2012 | Reply

    Jerry, where do I begin. I love comments like “make a trade”, as if by magic it happens as you wish. We don’t need defensive backs, we need defensive backs that can stay on the field and not get hurt. Did you notice we were playing two corners at both safety positions in the 4th due to injuries.

    As far as quarterback, a #3 QB, we are all set. An arm isn’t as important at that point as is someone that can move the ball. He moved the ball…the problem was dropped passes.

    Having said all of this, I’m not trying to say we are looking great at these positions, but we are not in desperate need. An improvement would still be an improvement.

  8. By UnknownWriter on Aug 31, 2012 | Reply

    I like the 53 man roster the Lions have this year.

    I like our CB’s. Alphonso Smith was the 4th best CB. Yes, he has talent. But that talent costs money. The Lions are near cap lock. Keeping him was a luxury that the Lions could ill afford if they want to pick up talent at other areas.

    If you want to see who was any good that the Lions cut, see if they catch onto a team by Monday and if they are slated to be starters. If they take longer than Monday to find a team, they aren’t worth crying about.

  9. By Kenny on Sep 1, 2012 | Reply

    see ya later Smith about time they dumped him, he lost enough games last year by getting killed out there…

  10. By Howard and Ken on Sep 1, 2012 | Reply

    We say GO Lions Go

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