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Lions players comment on win over Jets

Quotes from various players after Thursday's Detroit Lions preseason game.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Below is a look at what various Detroit Lions players had to say after Thursday's win over the New York Jets. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

Opening statement: "It was a good start. I thought the tempo was good. We were able to run the ball pretty well tonight, which was good to see, all groups. I thought the offensive line played well. Quarterbacks were making good decisions, throwing the ball in right spots, so it was good. Had some big plays early on. Golden (Tate) did a good job breaking a tackle on the first one, didn't get to see the end of the second one, but it ended up in the end zone, so that's a good thing."

On how important the running game will be this season in balancing the offense: "Yeah, it's important. It's important to set up play-action pass, get single coverage, all that kind of stuff. It's important to close out games, which we did tonight with it. It was fantastic to see. When everybody in the place knew we were going to run it, we could still run it. That helps you win games not only year round, but especially late in the year, bad weather games, whatever it may be. Being able to run the football is crucial."

On RB Ameer Abdullah's long run: "It was impressive. It's kind of a different view from the sideline. He ran to the opposite side of the field of our sideline, so couldn't really see. But it looked like he made a pretty good move on some guys, and then showed a really nice burst. I thought all our backs played well tonight. Theo (Riddick) had some great, tough runs, we churned out yards. Our offensive line was doing a good job making little dents in the defensive line. Our guys were doing a good job of running physical and picking up yards."

On what he saw tonight from the offensive line: "I think they've been playing well. Obviously, we're by no means a perfectly well-oiled machine at this point, but they've been playing physical. If you're going to make a mistake, make it 100 miles an hour, and they've been doing that. (They have been) getting great push and did a good job protecting the quarterback tonight too, so it's fun to see them. It's the second year in the system for them, too. It's easier for them to communicate, go out there and just play."

On the progression of the offense: "I think there's just been a gradual growth. Last year we found ways to win games when maybe we weren't playing our best on offense, our defense played fantastic last year. They did it again tonight, which was great to see, holding them to three points. But I just think there's been gradual growth. The comfort level's gone up. We've added some new pieces, some guys come in and make big plays tonight, which was great to see, so hopefully more of the same. We've got to get back to work and work on ourselves this week and try and get better."

On his chemistry with the Lions quarterbacks: "You know, you've got a good quarterback and you've got a receiver that you can trust a little bit and depend on to be in a certain spot. I think it can develop pretty quickly, so I just try to be where I'm supposed to be and try to do my assignments and hope the ball comes my way."

On what it means to play well against his former team: "Yeah, you know, it doesn't mean a lot, but for someone like me, it means a lot. Going out there and playing against them and, you know, trying to make this team."

On if this game is a confidence booster: "I have a lot of confidence. I've done this in games previously. Whenever I've gotten my shot, I've made plays in games, so it's something I always knew I could do and getting the opportunity to actually do it is another thing, so I'm just glad that I got the opportunity."

On how he mentally approaches preseason games: "This is my fifth year, so this isn't anything new to me. You know, I've been in this position before, battling for a roster spot, so you just got to know you can do it, keep your confidence high. When your number is called, you have to make a play."

On the game tonight: "It's very encouraging to go out and move the ball against a great organization like the Jets. I mean, we were running the ball well, we threw the ball well, we protected well, we caught well. Most importantly, we didn't have very many penalties. I think Coach (Caldwell) said we might've had three today and that's key and that's how you win ball games consistently, so we're very encouraged and hungry. I'm ready to get back out there tomorrow to be critical on our mistakes and get ready for next week."

On how good the offense can be: "You guys have been at practice the last few weeks and, you know, we're going against our defense and as far as I'm concerned, that's the toughest defense to go against in the NFL because we're going against them every single day. They know what we're going to do. They have a game plan as well, so for us to come out here against another squad and to do well, stay on track, move the ball and do everything that we kind of envisioned last night in the meeting, it's special. I will keep saying, we don't think we have it figured out. There are some things that we definitely need to be better at and fine tune, but it's a great start."

On his touchdown play: "You know, it was in the first 10 plays. We already had it planned. Great call by Coach first and foremost and (Matthew) Stafford threw a money ball. I mean, if he throws that ball slightly behind me and I have to slow up, I probably get tackled, so he stepped up. Big-time throw. The other receivers blocked well down the field and I found my way into the end zone. It all happened so quick. I just tried my best to get in the end zone and it worked out. If you can draw plays up like that and they work like that, we're going to be good."

On if his first-career NFL game was everything he expected: "Yes, it was. I went out there and felt like I did everything I wanted to do and just going in there and having fun with the guys. It was definitely an enjoyable first game for me and I'm looking forward to the future."

On Coach Caldwell's thoughts on the offensive line's performance: "He said we did a good job up front. Obviously, there's going to be stuff that we have to keep on working on and we're going to keep on doing that, but overall it was a pretty good job. Just have to keep working and building on what we have right now."

On how his techniques have improved since college: "Yeah, just being a little more technically sound, being more balanced in my techniques and just being able to exert more power through technique. So, I definitely felt that I was more technically sound in this game compared to previous games in college. Just have to keep improving on that and we'll see in the future."

On the rookies' overall performance: "Rookies, we come out and we're hungry. We're trying to make our place on the team and these are opportunities where we get to do that and we're going to make the most of that opportunity."

On his long run tonight: "The line did a great job of getting the edge and sealing things for me. It's my job to make the first guy miss, and the receivers released to block downfield. So, it was executed pretty well. The timing of it, the quarterback selling the opposite way well, we executed on all cylinders."

On the feeling he gets when making linebackers miss their tackles: "I don't have much time to reflect on it, because once that happens I have to get on to the next defender. But it's something that I take a lot of pride in, and something that I'm looking forward to bringing to this team."

On how he works on dodging tacklers: "In practice every day. We practice it. The defense is doing a good job of giving us great looks in practice. They compete to the highest level, so we feel confident coming into this game after going against our defense. You get to practice those things on your own players, so when you go out and play in the real game it's much easier."

On the offensive line's performance tonight: "Outstanding, outstanding. They got a lot of good push, a lot of good push. We really wanted to emphasize running today, and the offensive line really answered the call and brought their A-game. Pretty much all you saw was because of them opening up lanes."

On the defense's overall performance tonight: "Yeah, we did a lot of good things out there tonight. We did what we accomplished, did what we practiced. We just have to take this opportunity. I think it was a great first start for us, and we have a lot to improve on. But it's good to see where we're at as a D-Line."

On if his body feels better now compared to last year: "Absolutely. I feel a lot better than I did last year, a lot more confident. I was able to do some things that I couldn't do last year and that's what I need. That's what I set up to accomplish."

On the opportunity to face an opponent's offensive line: "Yeah, it was great. It was great to get out with them. It will be great even later on when we get to prepare more for the opponent. But it was good to go against some great players. Their center (Nick Mangold) is an All-Pro, so it's great to go against a great guy like that."

On his sack tonight: "It was cool. I enjoyed it. It was great in the moment, then I just moved on to the next play. But it's one of those things that you kind of set out to do and you hope you can get a lot more when the season starts."

On his assessment of the defense tonight: "I think it was a decent start. I think the ones, we wanted to go out there a little bit better and not give up three points and a fourth-down conversion. But it feels good to get out here and officially get rolling against a different team to kind of see where guys are."

On if the first preseason game is used to shake off the rust: "Absolutely. I think that's true for myself, and everybody can probably say that a little bit. The live action is different than the reps you get in the spring, the reps you get in the fall. So it's just step one of getting things going and hopefully we can continue to sharpen our sword a little bit and knock off the rust."

On continuing to improve from last season with the new roster additions: "I think that's key, in just improving what we do. Just continue to come out there and work and get better and try to just improve on the things we did well. There's obviously a lot of mistakes from last year that we need to get better at and improve on."

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