Dan Campbell: Detroit Lions starters likely to play one quarter vs. Atlanta Falcons

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The Detroit Lions will play their starters about one quarter in Friday's preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

Lions coach Dan Campbell indicated Monday he hopes to follow a similar approach to the one he used in last year's exhibition opener, when Jared Goff played 22 snaps over the Lions' first two offensive series.

"I’d like to get our starters some reps in this game, maybe a quarter because there again, you just can’t mimic game speed and game intensity," Campbell said. "And the only way to get ready for a season is to stimulate that intensity. But at the same time, I want to be smart, too. And so, we’re going to meet as a staff (Tuesday) night, really go through this and talk about it. But that’s, my intentions are to do that right now.”

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Lions quarterback Jared Goff signals teammates during open practice at Family Fest at Ford Field on Saturday, August 6, 2022.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff signals teammates during open practice at Family Fest at Ford Field on Saturday, August 6, 2022.

Campbell said he spoke recently with Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, and Smith indicated Atlanta's starters will play some Friday, too.

Last year, with the preseason shortened to three weeks, Campbell played the majority of his key starters only in Week 1, though several veterans did see some action in Game 2.

With joint practices next week against the Indianapolis Colts, where starters will get two days' worth of reps against unfamiliar competition, Friday's game could be the only chance to see most Lions starters this preseason.

Though starters will play Friday, Campbell said the Lions are not doing much else to simulate a regular season game week.

"For us, it’s still about us and we’re really not even going to worry about Atlanta until the day before," Campbell said. "And it’ll be more of jog-through mode, here’s what Atlanta does, we rep our guys. But everything up until the day before the game is about Detroit vs. Detroit. So, we still – we’re in camp, we’ve got to get better at what we do and still compete against each other."

Jeff Okudah update

Campbell said the Lions held cornerback Jeff Okudah out of Saturday's practice at Ford Field as a scheduled rest day in his return from a ruptured Achilles.

Okudah returned to practice Monday among the second-team defense, with Amani Oruwariye and Will Harris playing with the starting group.

"He looks good," Campbell said. "The physical side of everything he’s doing is good. I mean, he looks good, he’s come back, like we have no concern about the Achilles. Physically he looks great. He needs reps, he needs to play, I mean that’s the thing that we can never lose sight of. I mean, he’s going into Year 3 and he really hasn’t played. I mean he just hasn’t had significant playing time. So, he just needs reps, but physically he’s doing good, he’s working at it and he wants it."

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Jared Goff, Detroit Lions starters to play in preseason opener