It's been a pretty wild last 24 hours or so for running back Craig Reynolds.
Reynolds got called by the Lions for a tryout in Detroit, missed his flight Wednesday, then his second flight got delayed twice because of the rain in Philadelphia. He landed in Charlotte around 12 a.m. Thursday, got up around 6 a.m., flew to Detroit, tried out for the team and was signed. Friday night he was playing in Detroit's preseason opener.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff joked after the game that he couldn't recall actually meeting Reynolds.
Reynolds said he was introducing himself to teammates in the huddle during the game, and coaches were introducing themselves to him on the sideline.
With just a day to learn however much of the playbook he could, Reynolds was thrown into the mix, and became one of the good storylines for the Lions in their 16-15 preseason loss to the Bills Friday night.
He carried the ball six times for 49 yards (8.2 average), including a 24-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"It meant a lot, you know. First career touchdown," Reynolds said. "And I got a call from my older brother today and he just told me to let it rip. Friday the 13th, 13 was my number in college and high school it's like, 'Today's going to be – just do something special.'
"I went out there and you know, all week the coaches said let it rip. Don't think just play. Special teams, on offense. And I just said, 'You know, let's go ham. Just go, just go. That's it'."
An undrafted player out of Kutztown College in 2019, Reynolds played in three games with Washington in 2019 and two games with Jacksonville last year. He has one career rush (four yards) and one reception.
"To come into a preseason game and to make plays like he was, it's fun for me to watch and fun to be a part of," Goff said of Reynolds. "It's special to watch a guy do that."
After D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, the Lions are still trying to figure out their depth chart at running back. One preseason game certainly won't determine much, but it was a good first impression for Reynolds.
"It's impressive," Campbell said of Reynolds' night. "It really is. He's kind of a guy – we'll see where this goes – but he's got that look in his eye and he did when he walked in yesterday (Thursday). You can tell like, 'Hey man, I'm here to compete.'"
Compete Reynolds did, and now he's someone to watch as the Lions figure out the pecking order at running back.
Julian Okwara played in only six games last year due to injury and did not have the luxury of playing in any preseason games as a rookie.
Okwara might have played more than any player in Friday's preseason opener. He played in the first quarter and was still in there making plays in the fourth quarter.
"It was nice to go out there and see some fans and just get some more experience under my belt," Okwara said after the game.
"Last year, I got hurt and stuff like that, so it's just nice to be out there and just experience, I think, was the most experience. It doesn't matter how much. I think just being able to get into game shape and to be able to run out there and just execute and all that stuff. I think that was the most important thing for me today, no matter how many reps it was."
All told, Okwara finished with three tackles, one sack, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hits. He was disruptive with a couple other rushes and overall played pretty well.
"We just felt like it was important for him – we felt like he needed a load," Campbell said of Okwara. "Look, he's a young guy. He's a young guy that's still developing and we felt like it was important for him to come out and see how he responded. He affected the quarterback and made some plays."
If Okwara can stay healthy and give Detroit another consistent rusher off the edge, it will mean a lot for the Lions' defense.
VERSATILITY MEANS SOMETHING
All Bobby Price was probably thinking about after Friday night's game was the 42-yard completion he gave up on 4th and 10 late in the game that contributed to the Bills' game-winning field goal.
But that's not what Campbell was remembering about Price's performance after the game. He was talking about Price's switch from safety to cornerback just a few days earlier, and how a player that's athletic enough to make that switch mid-training camp, with the ability to also play safety when needed, can stand out when it's time to make a decision on the roster.
It's worth watching Price's development at cornerback over the next few weeks to see if Detroit is on to something there after a position switch.
CHANGE AT TRAINER
Campbell confirmed after the game that he relieved head trainer Dave Granito of his duties. Campbell referred to it as a communication issue more than anything else. The Lions are leaning on coordinator of rehabilitation/assistant athletic trainer Tom Colt to fill the void until a replacement for Granito is hired, which Campbell hopes will be very soon.
It was a 50-50 night for Lions punter Jack Fox. He totaled a punt average of 52.3 and a net punting average of 51.3.