The Detroit Lions fell to 1-1 in the preseason after Saturday's 25-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Most of Detroit's starters on offense and defense had the afternoon off, which gave some young players and players fighting for roster spots an opportunity to impress coaches.
Here are five players who stood out to me from Saturday's contest:
1. Linebacker James Houston
The pecking order along the edge of Detroit's defensive line is still being worked out behind starters Aidan Hutchinson and Charles Harris. Houston had six tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack against the Jaguars Saturday, continuing to show that every time he steps on the field, he finds a way to make impact plays.
"I did feel like he showed up and did some good things today," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said of Houston. "I wasn't able to watch him the whole game, but I felt like I watched him enough to feel like you could feel his presence out there which was good."
Houston is trying to prove he can handle a bigger role than just a situational pass rusher. Games like Saturday help that cause.
2. Cornerback Steven Gilmore
Gilmore gave up a 48-yard pass down the left sideline on the Jaguars' second series of the game that set up a field goal, but how he responded is noteworthy.
Gilmore was in the right spot to pick off a deflected pass and had a huge pass breakup in the end zone. His 55 snaps played were tied for the most among Detroit's defenders Saturday. He finished with three tackles and two passes defended.
"I think those are the type of things you're looking for from these young players is – these things are going to happen, you're going to get hit on a play, something bad is going to happen, you may get a flag thrown on you," Campbell said of Gilmore.
"It's all about what happens next. You want to know if these players have – they're resilient and I would say, Gilmore, that was encouraging. You give up a big one and then you go right back, and you don't bat an eye, you get a big knockdown in the red zone and then he gets a ricochet interception. Those are big. That's encouraging. I think it kind of tells you, 'Well, you know what, it's not too big for this guy.' He didn't get frazzled, he didn't lose confidence, he just goes back for more and those are the type of players you want."
3. Defensive lineman John Cominsky
The Commish finds a way to make impact plays just about every time he steps on the field, even if that's doing the dirty work to free others up to make plays. Cominsky played just 13 snaps against the Jaguars but was able to record a sack, tackle for loss and a big pass breakup on a 4th and 3 play that gave the ball back to the Lions' offense.
Cominsky can play inside and outside and does both at a high level. He'll be an important part of this defense in 2023.
4. Wide receiver Chase Cota
It wasn't a huge game for Cota, but out of the handful of players on the roster vying for the fifth receiver spot to start the season he shined the brightest. He caught two passes for nine yards, but one was the only Lions touchdown of the game on a 1-yard crosser. He also hauled in a very tough sliding catch along the right sideline but wasn't able to get his second foot inbounds. It was overturned on replay but still a great effort.
He also got an opportunity to show what he can do in the return game taking a punt back 28 yards. This was coming off a preseason game last week against the Giants where he led the Lions in receiving with four receptions for 60 yards.
5. Linebacker Jack Campbell
Dan Campbell loves the way the linebacker room is shaping up with good depth and players with diverse skill sets. Rookie Jack Campbell got 32 reps (43 percent) Saturday as the team continues to get him game time.
"Yeah, I just felt like, let's let him go a little bit," Campbell said of playing the rookie linebacker thirty-plus reps Saturday. "Let's let him play. Speed of the game, picking it up, playing faster and we feel like the more he plays, the more we're going to see out of it."
Campbell led the defense with seven tackles and continues to show that he can be in the right spots and rack up tackles when given the opportunity to play.