Jeff Okudah was seeing his first live action in over a year on Friday night for the Detroit Lions, so as expected, there was some rust to knock off.
Still, Okudah played during the game in Week 1 of the preseason and was able to get things going on the field. The Lions lost the game and Okudah gave up a single catch, but the cornerback was still positive about where things are trending.
Speaking to the media after the game on Friday, August 12, Okudah discused the game. As he said, he thought he played solid, but as a perfectionist, could not ignore the one play he did give up.
“I think it was solid. I think all things considered, it was solid. For me being a perfectionist, I hate that a receiver caught a ball on me but I think it’s something I could definitely look at and build from it,” Okudah told the media.
The completion Okudah allowed was only for 12 yards, but in his mind, that was 12 yards too many. Okudah would finish with 3 tackles on the night, which was second on the team and a very solid total.
All-told, it was a good start for Okudah, but hearing that he wasn’t satisfied is good news. That shows the drive to be even better if not elite still remains with the young cornerback.
Okudah Working Toward Earning Role
The Lions have a competition brewing at cornerback for a starting role. Converted safety Will Harris has been seeing first team snaps, but got dinged-up early, forcing Okudah in.
Okudah stayed on the field and did a nice job, and it’s something that he said could be attributed to the fact that he doesn’t stop working. That could allow him to earn some major trust from the staff.
“Just working. I mean I’m just doing my job at the end of the day. It’s also about just doing your job so coaches see that and they’re able to throw me in,” he said. “I mean, obviously I’m doing something right, so at the end of the day I just come to work every day and work and that’s about it.”
The work Okudah has put in is evident, and now, the process will continue as it relates toward sorting out where and when he can play.
As Okudah likely knows, as long as he works hard, that will take care of itself in time.
Okudah’s 2022 Comeback Complete
Off last season’s untimely ACL injury, Okudah has been working harder than ever to come back strong for the 2022 season, and by just getting on the field, a major mission has been accomplished.
Okudah knows the importance of the year to try and shed bust labels from the media. A resurgent Okudah would give the Lions major depth at cornerback, and could also provide the team another stable player with which to rely on at a key position on the field.
So far, Okudah looked solid and was able to moving around fluidly. The next step for Okudah is finding a way to elevate his play and show an understanding of the team’s defense. Unfortunately, he was robbed of the chance to do this during the lost 2021 season, when that growth could have played out from Week 1 until Week 17 for Detroit.
The goal for Okudah now? Put this performance in perspective and use it as a teaching tool as well as motivation for future contests. It seems he will be able to get that done easily.
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