Despite the loss, there was a lot to like about this game. The starting offense dominated on the opening drive and several rookies emerged, but there were also some players who took a step back as well. Let’s take a look at where things sit after the Lions’ first preseason game in our stock report.
Stock: Starting offensive line dominates
The Lions’ offensive starters only played one drive, but they did enough in that drive to show what they’re capable of, especially the offensive line. They gave Jared Goff a clean pocket to throw to, enough time to execute play-action, and moved people in the run game.
On the drive, they picked up 32 yards on just six carries, including a nine-yard touchdown run by D’Andre Swift, who was able to run left behind a wall sealed by Taylor Decker. They also cleared room for Jamaal Williams to take an easy third-down and short conversion running behind Halapoulivaati Vaitai. On another play, they got an easy seven-yard run right behind Jonah Jackson.
Meanwhile, Frank Ragnow and Penei Sewell basically did whatever they wanted out there, moving bodies as they pleased.
Stock down: Tim Boyle struggles to find consistency
Boyle was given the opportunity to start with the second team but he did not take advantage of his opportunity. He entered the game midway through the first quarter, exited midway through the third, and was very up and down the entire game — which reflects the inconsistency he showed in camp.
On one play he nails a throw 45 yards downfield to Kalif Raymond. On the next drive, he misses Raymond on a wide-open conversion. On the fourth drive, Raymond was wide open again, Boyle threw it behind him, and the pass was broken up. On the very next play, he threads a 24-yarder to Trinity Benson.
He stayed to start the third quarter and threw an interception on the first drive of the half. He was replaced by David Blough on the next drive.
Supply: Aidan Hutchinson, wasted no time in making an impact
Well, Hutchinson looked a lot like the #2 overall pick early on, causing problems early and often. On his three-yard tackle for a loss, the Ole’s move he put on Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews left the former No. 6 overall pick in 2014 grasping for nothing but air:
Two plays later Hutchinson drew a holding penalty on Falcons right guard Chris Lindstrom (No. 14 overall pick in 2019). He’s hard to handle, even for former first-round picks.
Quick Hits, provide:
Jared Goff: Cool, calm and collected. He only threw four passes, completing three for 47 yards, but he had total control of the offense.
David Blough: A stark contrast to Boyle, Blough came in and set things up for the Lions reserves. He used his legs and his arms to make an impact on several drives. The biggest difference between him and Boyle was Blough’s pocket presence and ability to keep plays alive. The late game fumble hurt his stock though.
Amon-Ra Saint Brown: One drive, two catches, two first downs (29 yards). chain drive
D’Andre Swift: Looked strong in his decision making, and showed an improved amount of speed and strength. On his landing, he was patient, saw daylight, and ran to it.
Brock Wright: Got the start in place of TJ Hockenson and caught an 18-yard reception on the second play of the game.
Caliph Raymond: Constantly found himself open, and if Goff was at quarterback he probably would have had a much bigger game. His 45-yard reception was a fine example of concentration.
Tom Kennedy: Mr. Reliable. Need a third down conversion? Find Kennedy. Both Boyle and Blough leaned on him as a safety valve. In the fourth quarter, he took over and looked terrible.
Trinity Benson: Started at kick returner and caught a big 24-yard gain to keep the drive moving near the end of the half. He gets a chance but he will have to clean up his drops.
Devin Funchess: After being quiet in camp, he had to make some splash plays during the game and he did just that on a late second-quarter touchdown, as well as moving the chains in the fourth quarter. He has the ability to be a mismatch option, but he needs to stack more plays like this:
John Cominsky: Took over the Hutchinson role after the rookie left the game, and made some nice plays, especially in the fourth quarter.
Malcolm Rodriguez: Opened the game by kicking on the opening kickoff, then proceeded to start with the first team.
Anthony Pittman: gained time early with the first team in third-down packages. Working with the two-minute defense, he managed three (!) pressures, all of which resulted in quarterback hits. In the second half, he showed relentless pursuit on third downs.
Bobby Price: His interception didn’t count in the box score, but that’s a solid play he can keep on his positive film record.
Chase Lucas: His pass with less than two minutes remaining was a thing of beauty. His third down stop on the very next play was just as good. Get this man some more reps!
Kerby Joseph: One of his biggest weaknesses was his open field handling, but he looked much improved in this area. In the second quarter, he filled a gap and made a hard tackle, then made an open field tackle at the goal line to prevent a touchdown. He also showed solid recognition by passing receivers in the middle of the game, which is a staple in the Lions’ split-zone scheme. He finished the game with a team-leading five tackles.
Quick Hits, stock drop:
Matt Nelson: After watching the starting offensive line wreck people, he looked slow and sluggish in comparison. He looked off his mark one or three times and was called for holding, but the flag was taken.
Logan Stenberg: Was harassed and gave up a bag. The play ultimately didn’t count after Atlanta was flagged on the play, but that still goes down as a negative for a guy who’s supposed to be a bully.
Godwin Igwebuike: He didn’t get a rep until the fourth quarter and rotated reps with Justin Jackson. He didn’t come back either—maybe because they wanted to give Benson some looks—so maybe he slipped down the depth chart a bit.
Derrick Barnes: All the athletic talent you could ask for, but until he can learn to read his gaps better, he’s going to end up in the wrong place a lot—as he did in this game. It wasn’t all bad, he did get a nice tackle for a loss on the second drive, easily beating a block, but he needs to find himself in better spots.
Shaun Dion Hamilton: He was believed to be on the roster bubble, but he didn’t show until the final snaps of the third quarter. He appears to be further down the depth chart than originally projected.
AJ Parker: He looked to be off his mark a few times in the opening drive, often following the play as opposed to causing problems. He made a sweet penetrating move to put himself in position to make a tackle for a loss, but he missed low.
Cedric Boswell: He had a nice pass breakup early in the fourth quarter but giving up the late touchdown was a backbreaker. Not only did it look like he lost his place on the field, but he also easily overmuscles. A tough finish for the undrafted free agent.