The Detroit Lions are hoping for improved play from a defense that ranked 29th in the NFL last season. While Detroit’s defense struggled mightily for most of the season, it ended things on a high note as safety Kerby Joseph picked off Aaron Rodgers to seal a win in Rodgers’ last game with the Packers.
The Lions beat the New York Giants in their preseason opener at Ford Field without several key players including quarterback Jared Goff.
Nate Sudfeld threw two interceptions starting the game in place of Goff, causing a great deal of frustration among offensive coaches and opening the door for new addition Teddy Bridgewater to rocket up the Lions’ depth chart.
Meanwhile, several unexpected players impressed for Detroit in their first unofficial game of the season.
Jack Campbell, who was selected #18 in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, had the highest grade among all Lions players according to Pro Football Focus.
The Lions’ top three players on offense were as follows:
-WR Chase Cota, 77.2 rating
-QB Adrian Martinez, 74.4 rating
-OT Connor Galvin, 72.4 rating
On defense, Campbell led the way. The Lions’ top defenders according to PFF were as follows vs. Brian Daboll, Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley’s Giants:
-LB Jack Campbell, 90.6
-DT Levi Onwuzurike, 89.3
-DE John Cominsky, 86.8
Longtime NFL analyst Brian Baldinger broke down the film on Campbell and came away impressed. He published a video of key Campbell highlights, stating that he believes the Iowa rookie is an “impact player” in the NFL. The man known as ‘Baldy’ seems to believe the Lions have a new quarterback for the defense in Campbell, judging by his comments on the film of his first preseason game below.
.@Lions @jackcampbell133 looked like he wanted to throw some lumber around last night…Hey Coach Campbell…Can I finally frkn hit somebody tonight?? @HawkeyeFootball #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/VrbZPtllaH
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) August 12, 2023
“I’ve been high on him since the draft, although I think they could have waited until the 2nd round to pick him,” wrote one fan in response to the film breakdown.
“I’ve hated the fact that we haven’t had a playmaking linebacker since DeAndre Levy, and I’m hoping Campbell can be that guy,” another fan said. “I’m sick to death of getting killed on crossers that are WIDE open. It’s been a tough decade for that. We’re getting better!”
According to Campbell, a notoriously hard worker, his first game with the team felt “easier than practice.”