Tom Kennedy, Kerby Joseph, Jeff Okudah shine in Detroit Lions preseason opener

SideLion Report

The Detroit Lions lost their preseason opener Friday night, but three players used the opportunity to get some notice.

The Detroit Lions lost their preseason opener to the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night, 27-23. But there was a lot of good to be taken out of the game, including three players looking to establish themselves.

Tom Kennedy caught a game-high eight passes for 104 yards, as backup quarterbacks Tim Boyle and David Blough targeted him 12 times. In his postgame press conference, head coach Dan Campbell repeatedly used one word to describe Kennedy.

“Yeah, I would just say I’m not surprised,” Campbell said. “That’s Tom Kennedy. He’s just dependable, that’s all he is just dependable. He’s just very dependable, that’s all he is.”

Kennedy is a small receiver (5-foot-10, 190 pounds).  Somehow, he managed to find holes in the Atlanta secondary and move the chains regularly. He sort of reminds you of former Patriots receiver Julian Edelman.

Two members of Detroit Lions secondary also got opportunity in preseason opener

On the defensive side, rookie safety Kerby Joseph proved why he was worthy of a third-round selection by the Lions in April’s draft. He was Detroit’s leading tackler against the Falcons, with seven total (five solo). Joseph could start to push DeShon Elliott for the starting safety spot opposite Tracy Walker, and Elliott played fairly well on Friday night himself.

Joseph tied for the most snaps played by a Lions’ defender, with 43, as the safety group was a little thin.

Cornerback Jeff Okudah was looking for redemption in the preseason opener. He suffered a ruptured Achilles in Week 1 last year, after a rookie season in 2020 that was hampered by injuries and the coaching of the previous staff.

Okudah make three tackles and worked in press coverage on the Falcons’ receivers he lined up against over 18 snaps. All in all, it was a win for the former No. 3 overall pick.

Among the trio of Kennedy, Joseph and Okudah, only Kennedy isn’t a virtual lock for a spot on the 53-man roster right now. But all three took advantage of the chance they got in the Lions’ first preseason game.

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