It’s officially game week for the Detroit Lions, as they’re scheduled to take on the Atlanta Falcons on Friday for the preseason opener. On Monday, coach Dan Campbell revealed his team’s plans for the exhibition match.
Campbell said he has already coordinated with Falcons head coach Arthur Smith and has decided that they will be playing their starters for around one quarter on Friday.
“I know they’re playing their starters early in this game, and I had already thought that was the way I wanted to go, too,” Campbell said. “So I’d like to get our starters some reps in this game, maybe a quarter. Because, there again, you just can’t mimic game speed and game intensity. The only way to get ready for a season is to simulate that intensity. But at the same time, I want to be smart, too.”
All offseason, Campbell has emphasized getting the players more physically ready than they were last year That included a trio of high-intensity practices last week when the pads came on, including a practice that nearly spanned 2.5 hours.
But at the same time, he’s preached not pushing the players beyond their physical limits. After their most intense practices, they’ve pulled back the following days to allow the players to fully recover and avoid injury. Some specific players have even been scheduled for days off, including Taylor Decker, D’Andre Swift, and Jeff Okudah.
Friday’s game against the Falcons will be at Ford Field and will kick off at 6 p.m. ET. The game will be nationally televised on NFL Network.