By: Will Burchfield
The Lions enjoyed a breezy 24-10 win over the Colts in their preseason opener, but in no way did the team meet the expectations of its head coach.
Of course, that'd be pretty hard to do this time of year.
"Our expectations are always extremely high, so I'd tell you that it was far below," Caldwell said of his team's performance on Sunday. "The other thing I'll tell you is that we've got a long way to go."
The Lions' offensive starters played just one series, while most of the defensive starters were out of the game before the second half. Things got predictably sloppy in the final two quarters.
"There were some things that we did well, some things that we would like to do better," said Caldwell. "We had six penalties in that game, we'd like to have somewhere between three and one. We turned the ball over, we'd like to have zero. We didn't get any turnovers.
"There's a number of different things I can point to that we thought we didn't do well, so we still got a lot to get accomplished. This is just the start and we're a long way away."
The penalties, all of which occurred in the second half, were no fault of the starters. The one turnover was an interception by Matthew Stafford, whose pass deflected off the hands of Marvin Jones and into those of an on-the-spot Colts' defender.
The biggest disappointment for the Lions, of course, was Kerry Hyder's achilles injury. He will reportedly miss the 2017 season.
"Obviously, you're going to miss a guy like Kerry," Caldwell said. "He's an outstanding player for us, he's been tough. But, just like anything else, we've got to find a way. I think we've got a number of young guys that are great candidates in that regard, and we've got some older guys that are going to have to step up and play."
The Lions received encouraging performances from a pair of undrafted rookies in Alex Barrett and Jeremiah Valoaga, both of whom registered a sack on Sunday.
Of Valoaga, Caldwell said, "He played well. He's long. He's got some push. Between he and Alex, those number of guys got some pressure on the quarterback. And we kind of like what he's doing right now. But he's still young."
The Lions will host the Jets on Saturday at Ford Field in their second game of the preseason.
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