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Saturday open thread: Do you feel better, worse, or the same after Lions-Falcons?

How’re you feeling about the Detroit Lions after their first bit of preseason action?

Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions put the first exhibition under their belt on Friday night when they narrowly lost a 27-23 contest to the Atlanta Falcons.

Dan Campbell stuck to his comments from earlier this week when he said the starters would play around a quarter in the team’s preseason opener. For the first-team offense, things seemed to be humming along with Ben Johnson in charge of the play calling. Jared Goff—someone who wasn’t originally part of the coaching staff’s plans to play on Friday—led the offense on a 10-play, 79-yard drive that ended in a 9-yard rushing touchdown for D’Andre Swift. On the flip side, the Falcons were able to bleed the Lions first-team defense for 82 yards over nine-and-a-half minutes and a Marcus Mariota rushing touchdown.

Outside of the final result to the game, the Lions have plenty to be positive about moving forward, but they’ll need to continue working to improve defensively while maintaining this momentum the offense has built through the first week of camp.

This leads us to today’s Question of the Day...

Do you feel better, worse, or the same after Lions-Falcons?

Without having an opportunity to attend training camp, I’ve relied on the reports and observations of people on the beat to get a clearer picture of what’s happened at camp. One aspect of Detroit’s growth from last year to this year has been how prepared and capable their offense has seemed in comparison to where they were last August.

On Friday, it was a pleasant surprise to see Detroit’s offense make good on those reports. The offensive line was moving defenders off the line of scrimmage, Goff was making the right reads, and the offense as a whole looked efficient as ever under Dan Campbell—if only for it being just one drive. For that reason alone, I feel a little better about this iteration of the Detroit Lions. If the Lions can go point for point and hold their own against an opposing offense, there’s enough percolating defensively to make me feel like Detroit can be even more competitive week in and week out than they were a year ago.

The defense, though, outside of a few flashes from Aidan Hutchinson, looked to still very much be a work-in-progress. Missed tackles and coverage blunders plagued the Lions a year ago, and those problems reared their ugly head on Friday.

For a team that’s committed so much to defending the run since Brad Holmes took over, it was troublesome to see the Falcons gash the Lions for 61 rushing yards on 10 plays during their first drive. What’s especially troubling about that is three of those carries went for negative or no yards, and it was DeShon Elliott needing to make some of these tackles 12 and 18 yards downfield. Overall, Atlanta ran the ball efficiently and effectively—29 times for 168 yards—with a long of just 20 yards. 5.8 yards per carry isn’t a number defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn can be happy about, and it’s going to be up to guys like Kelvin Sheppard and Todd Wash to get the most out of their units up front to bring that number down.

For their first showing, it wasn’t something to write home about, and there’s plenty Detroit’s defense needs to clean up before I can ultimately feel better about this football team. For now, I’m feeling the same about this team.

Your turn.

Poll

Do you feel better, worse, or the same after Lions-Falcons?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Better
    (802 votes)
  • 18%
    Worse
    (555 votes)
  • 54%
    Same
    (1656 votes)
3013 votes total Vote Now