Lions Grades: Defense Sees Usual Struggle in Preseason Opener

Tracy Walker

Getty Tracy Walker tries to make a tackle on Marcus Mariota.

The Detroit Lions kicked off their preseason against the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, August 12, and the 27-23 loss looked like a lot of their games from 2021.

Detroit blew a late lead after a few mistakes, and managed to start 0-1 during this year’s exhibition slate in a very familiar way. Though that was the case, there was still lots of positives to note.

The Lions saw some great flashes from their rookie studs, and didn’t have a lot to be depressed about even in a losing effort. How should the team be graded for their work in the first game?

Here’s a look at the first round of grades for this preseason.

Grading Lions Offense vs. Falcons


Detroit’s starters did a nice job moving the ball down the field with Jared Goff stepping up and establishing the tone with his offensive line and weapons. Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift look primed for big years, and the depth on the team’s front shined through.

As the night went on, weapons like Devin Funchess and Tom Kennedy asserted themselves in roster battles and could be poised to steal roles. The team’s backup quarterback battle might remain unsettled, though, and the team didn’t turn loose any deep passes. If there was one single regret, that was it.

Grading Lions Defense vs. Falcons


This was a very underwhelming start for a Detroit defense that needed a little bit more to start the year. Detroit couldn’t generate much pocket pressure, and the team’s backfield was cooked on multiple series. It looked a lot like the 2021 season when things got started.

More troubling was the fact that the Lions had usual problems creep up. The team seemed unable to get off the field on third down in crunch time, gave up a fourth down conversion touchdown to lose the game.

Though Aidan Hutchinson impressed in a big way, the Lions have to win the turnover battle and find a way to slow down the opposition’s quarterback.

Grading Lions Special Teams vs. Falcons


Detroit’s kicker battle was a wash on this night, as both Austin Seibert and Riley Patterson made kicks as well as extra points and looked solid while doing so. As a whole, Seibert was 1-1 on field goals with a long of 46 while Patterson was 2-2 with 7 total points.

Jack Fox was in midseason form at punter, booming a 65 yarder in the game. Kick coverage was solid all night long, and Trinity Benson showed some chops as a returner with 75 total yards on kickoff returns. All in all, a good start for this group.

Grading Lions Coaching Staff vs. Falcons


Dan Campbell and his staff did a decent job to get things going for the 2022 preseason slate. If there was a minor frustration, it was the fact that Ben Johnson didn’t turn loose a deep passing game that has seen a ton of camp hype. Perhaps he didn’t want to show too much, though.

Defensively, Aaron Glenn’s scheme is going to take a bit more adjustment, but if the starters played, the team may have seen better results as the game went on. Still, there are some things the Lions will want to clean up on that side of the ball.

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Tim Hamilton
Tim Hamilton
7 months ago

They need a huge upgrade at LB. If you’re going to play a attacking front your LB’s have to be able to tackle and fill holes in the run game. Also the DL has to consider containment when they are dealing with a mobil QB time after time their QB was on the outside extending the play and if nothing was there he had 5 to 7 yards on every run.

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