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What They're Saying: Lions React to 2022 Preseason Opener

Here is a sample of what Lions players said inside the locker room following their 27-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

The first Detroit Lions preseason game of 2022 did not end as planned. 

Instead of milking the clock and walking off the field with a victory, supporters were left with that same gut-wrenching feeling they have become accustomed to after third-string quarterback David Blough fumbled and turned the football over. 

Rookie Desmond Ridder led the Atlanta Falcons to a 27-23 come-from-behind victory. 

Here is a sample of what was said inside the locker room following the loss. 

Jarrad Davis 

On returning to play at Ford Field: 

"It was awesome. That's a very exhilarating experience and it just felt like home. We went out there the other weekend for the scrimmage in the blue and white game and it felt good then. But, it's even better today and I can't wait to see what it's like this season."

On the roughing the passer penalty: 

"It's one of those things where if I could, I don't know if I would change anything. Very good play. The running back came up and just being as physical as possible, I'm coming in and trying to take them on. I felt like I got a good move on to win. Just a nice power move and just feeling like if I could detail it -- there's some things I probably would have taken an inside move to make room for my other linebacker who was adding in. But, other than that, just trying to be physical, trying to play fast and it's tough. But, I like to play on the edge when it comes to that.

"I think another thing, too, is having a little bit lower target. Because, I probably hit him kind of high. I did get pushed in the back. So, it's tough in those situations -- those bang bang plays."

Derrick Barnes

On performance Friday against Atlanta Falcons: 

"My first series wasn't where I wanted to be. And then, coach is like, 'I'm gonna give you another series because I need to see some more.' So, got out there and the second series went well for me. You know, a lot of stuff to correct, but that's the game of football. It was fun and just being out there again -- getting to play against other people and not just your own teammates. It was just a fun experience. And just to watch these young guys develop. You sit on the sideline after you get done with your reps and you see these young guys develop into -- to make them be good and to be great. And it's just amazing just to be there to support the team."

Trinity Benson 

On his mindset coming into the first preseason game after dealing with a minor injury: 

"I felt good. My knee felt good. You mentioned the injury. Have a little swelling in my knee, so I stayed out of practice for two days and I felt good yesterday during the walkthrough. So, I felt good going into today.

On his training camp: 

"Training camp been going good so far. Has its ups and downs, as it does with everyone. Just mainly about having more ups than downs for the most part."

Devin Funchess

On the tight end competition: 

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"Shane, Brock, T.J., Griff, Deese, James and Nolan -- everybody just treats me with the utmost respect and they teach me everything that I need to know. So, competition, but they love me and they they just teach me everything. I'm so appreciative about that."

On the hurdle: 

"It was just -- it was in the moment. I felt like they was just shooting at my knees. So, it's just like, I'm not about to get hit in the knees and. Yeah, so just to jump over him."

Kalil Pimpleton: 

On playing in his first NFL game: 

"It was wonderful, you know? It's like a dream come true. I've always seen myself playing at the professional level. So, it was definitely a dream come true to finally get out here with the best of the best and prove myself."

On his emotions just before kickoff: 

"Calm. You know, in times like this, emotions seem to get high and hard to control. But, being in the game, playing the game for so long, you learn to control your emotions. You kind of get used to the atmosphere. So, my emotions were calm. But, at the same time, anxious -- ready to play."

On his training camp: 

"I feel like things have gone pretty well for me. I always feel like regardless of what everybody says, I always feel like me myself, I always feel like I can do better and be better and get myself to give more every day. So, regardless of what I'm being told or what I'm seeing, I always feel like I can do better."

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Jeff Okudah

On when he got into the flow of the game: 

"I think going in -- at first I didn't think, I thought that practice would be the same as the game. But, as the game got closer and closer, those first game nerves had to come back in. So, just getting out there and getting that first tackle and being able to settle back in -- that just kind of leveled me out and I'm excited for the next one."

Assessing his performance:

"I think it was solid. I think all things being considered, it was solid. For me, being a perfectionist -- I hate that a receiver caught a ball on me. But, I think I think it's something I could definitely look at and build from it."

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Malcolm Rodriguez

On his growing popularity:

"I don't really check on social media. I mean, I just stay around my family. My family always saying they are seeing the hate and the love and all that, but I just stay to the positive side. I heard people say, 'Do the salsa' in the stands. So, I got a good laugh out of that. And, you know, love Detroit. I'm happy to be here."