Detroit Lions to play starters in preseason opener vs. Falcons

SideLion Report

The Detroit Lions will open their preseason Friday night against the Atlanta Falcons, and starters will see some action.

It’s a game week for the Detroit Lions. They’ll open their 2022 preseason Friday night at home against the Atlanta Falcons.

When there was four NFL preseason games, how teams deployed starting players was fairly clear. The first two were ramp ups before a longer third game “dress rehearsal”, and starters sat out the fourth game.

The move to three preseason games was overdue, and a natural trade for a 17th regular season game. Now, the second preseason game qualifies as the “dress rehearsal” for teams.

On Monday, after talking to Falcons head coach Arthur Smith to coordinate plans, Lions head coach Dan Campbell addressed the topic of playing starters in the preseason opener.

Detroit Lions starters will get in and out quickly in preseason opener

Campbell did say, via Kyle Meinke of MLive, that the Lions and Falcons intend to play “most starters” on Friday night. One Lions starter who may not play, or play more than a series if he does, is running back D’Andre Swift. The Lions are managing his workload in training camp, with an eye on him heading into regular season fully healthy.

Any Lions’ starter who is dealing with a physical ailment may not play, or will probably play less than the quarter Campbell has in mind.

Campbell hinted at walking the fine line between getting guys ready for meaningful games and taking on too much risk when it comes to injury exposure. Via

I’d like to get our starters some reps in this game, maybe a quarter,” Campbell said. “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.”

Kickoff on Friday night is 6 p.m. ET, and the game will air nationally on NFL Network.

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