Julian Okwara answered call to step up in preseason opener against the Giants

Julian Okwara needed a big performance in the preseason opener perhaps more than any Lions' player, and he delivered.
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

A week ago, Lions head coach Dan Campbell said he wanted to see more consistency from Julian Okwara. Campbell practically called him out.

"It's really always been that way for him (Okwara), which we’ve talked about with him as well. He’s a flash player, man. He does something really impressive and then it just kind of reverts back at times. He doesn’t use what he’s been taught.""

Dan Campbell

Firmly on the wrong side of the roster bubble in a deep group of edge rushers, there may have been no Lions' player who needed a good showing in the preseason opener against the New York Giants more than the younger Okwara.

Yes, including Jameson Williams.

Even within the context of going against backup offensive lineman for New York, Okwara needed to perform. It's safe to say he did so, tallying not one, not two but three sacks on Friday night.

After the game, Campbell acknowledged Okwara's performance.

"He’s another guy that really flashed today," Campbell said. "He did a lot of things. You could feel his speed off the edge, he was able to pressure the quarterback, he was hustling out there, and set an edge a couple of times in the run game. Certainly, he showed up.”"

Julian Okwara responded to pressure to perform in preseason opener

A third-round pick by the Lions in 2020, Okwara's career has been impacted by injuries. An elbow injury on Thanksgiving Day against the Buffalo Bills ended his season last year, and he is still wearing a huge brace on it.

Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Okwara acknowledged he has seen what's been out there about him

"I read all the little stuff that’s being talked about me," Okwara told the Free Press after the game. "So I just got to keep doing what I got to do and know who I am and keep doing everything I got to do to make it where I got to be.""

Okwara is a man of few words with the media, but he also acknowledged he need to keep it going after Friday night's performance. Or it will go down as just another flash in a career that has had far too few of them so far.

Next. Detroit Lions preseason Week 1: 5 observations from the 21-16 win vs. Giants. Detroit Lions preseason Week 1: 5 observations from the 21-16 win vs. Giants. dark