Lions-Falcons stock report: Starting offensive line dominates, Aidan Hutchinson disruptive
The Detroit Lions faced Atlanta Falcons in their first of three preseason games this offseason, ending this contest with a 27-23 loss.
Despite the loss, there was a lot to love about this game. The starting attack dominated in the first training and several rookies showed up, but there were also a few players who also stepped back. Let’s see where things stand after the Lions’ first pre-season game in our stock report.
Refuel: the starting offensive line was dominant
The Lions offensive starters have only played one drive, but they’ve done enough in that drive to show what they’re capable of, especially the offensive line. They gave Jared Goff a clean throwing pocket, enough time to execute game actions, and moved people around in the running game.
On the drive, they picked up 32 yards on just six carries, including a nine-yard touchdown from D’Andre Swift, who was able to run to the left behind a wall sealed by Taylor Decker. They also gave way to Jamaal Williams to land an easy third down and a short conversion behind Halapoulivaati Vaitai. On another play, they won an easy seven-yard run just behind Jonah Jackson.
Meanwhile, Frank Ragnow and Penei Sewell basically did what they wanted there, moving bodies around at will.
Falling stock: Tim Boyle struggles to find consistency
Boyle had the chance to start with the second team but he didn’t take advantage of his opportunity. He came into the game halfway through the first quarter, came out halfway through the third and was very high and low throughout the game – reflecting the inconsistency he showed in camp .
On one play, he managed a 45-meter throw to Kalif Raymond. On the next drive, he misses Raymond on a wide-open conversion. On the fourth disc Raymond was running wide open again, Boyle threw him behind him and the pass was broken up. On the very next play, he puts on a 24-yarder at Trinity Benson.
He stayed to start the third quarter and threw an interception on the first practice of the half. He was replaced by David Blough on the next ride.
Stock up: Aidan Hutchinson wasted no time in making an impact
Well, Hutchinson looked a lot like the No. 2 overall pick early on, causing trouble early and often. On his three-yard tackle for the loss, Ole’s move he put on Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews left the former No. 6 overall pick (2014) not grabbing anything. other than air:
Two plays later, Hutchinson fired a detention penalty on Falcons right guard Chris Lindstrom (14th overall pick in 2019). He’s tough to deal with, even for former first-round picks.
Quick Hits, stock up:
Jared Goff: Cool, calm and collected. He threw just four passes, completing three for 47 yards, but he had complete control of the offense.
David Blough: A stark contrast to Boyle, Blough came in and sorted things out for the Lions reserves. He used his legs and arms to make an impact in several workouts. 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, however.
Amon-Ra St. Brown: One drive, two catches, two first downs (29 yards). Chain mover.
By Andre Swift: Appeared strong in his decision making, and showed an enhanced amount of speed and strength. Upon landing, he was patient, saw the light of day, and ran towards it.
Brock Wright: Got the start in place of TJ Hockenson and caught an 18-yard reception on the second play of the game.
Kalif 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 focus.
Tom Kennedy: Mr. Reliable. Need a third conversion? Find Kennedy. Boyle and Blough relied on him as a safety valve. In the fourth quarter, he took over and looked great.
Trinity Benson: Got the start on kick return and caught a big 24-yard gain to keep the drive moving late in the half. He has a chance but he will have to clean up his drops.
Devin Funchess: After being quiet in camp, he needed to splash a bit during the game and he did just that on a touchdown late in the second quarter, as well as moving the chains in the fourth quarter . It has the ability to be a lag option, but it needs to stack more games like this:
John Cominsky: Took over the role of Hutchinson after the rookie left the game and made some great plays, especially in the fourth quarter.
Malcolm Rodriguez: Opened the game by hitting the kick returner on the opening kickoff, then started with the first team.
Anthony Pitman: I had some early time with the first team in third down forfeits. When working the two-minute defense, he had three (!) pressures that all resulted in quarterback hits. In the second half, he showed relentless pursuit on third down.
Bobby Price: His interception didn’t count in the box score, but it’s a solid play he can put away in his positive film record.
chasing lucas: His pass breakup less than two minutes from the end was a thing of beauty. His third save on the next play was just as good. Get this man some more reps!
Kerby Joseph: One of his biggest weaknesses was his open-field tackling, but he seemed to have improved a lot in that area. In the second quarter, he filled a void and made a hard tackle, then made an open field tackle on the goal line to prevent a touchdown. He’s also shown solid recognition passing receivers through midgame, which is a critical part of the Lions’ split-zone scheme. He finished the game with a team-leading five tackles.
Quick shots, out of stock:
matt nelson: After watching the starting offensive line destroy people, he looked sluggish and sluggish in comparison. He looked away a time or three and was called for holding, but the flag was picked up.
Logan Stenberg: I was bullied and left a bag. The game ultimately didn’t count after Atlanta was flagged on the play, but that’s still negative for a guy who’s supposed to be a bully.
Godwin Igwebuike: He didn’t get a rep until the fourth quarter and was rotating reps with Justin Jackson. He also hasn’t made a comeback – possibly because they wanted to take a look at Benson – so it’s possible he slipped a bit in the depth chart.
Derrick Barnes: All the athletic talent you could ask for, but until he learns to read his shortcomings better, he’ll often end up in the wrong place, like he did in this game. It wasn’t too bad, he got a nice tackle for a loss on the second drive, beating a block easily, but he needs to be in better places.
Shaun Dion Hamilton: We thought he was part of the bubble of the list, but he didn’t show up until the last shots of the third quarter. Looks like it’s lower in the depth chart than originally expected.
A.J. Parker: He seemed out of place a few times in first practice, often dragging the game instead of causing trouble. He made a gentle penetrating move to get into position to make a tackle for loss, but he missed low.
Cedric Boswell: He made a nice pass breakup early in the fourth quarter but giving up the late touchdown was a backbreaker. Not only did he look like he lost his place on the pitch, but he also easily outdid himself. Difficult ending for the undrafted free agent.