There are 30 days until the bulk of NFL training camps get going on July 27th and that means we’re talking football and today we’re keying in on the Detroit Lions. The Lions are in rebuild mode and have made it official by letting Matthew Stafford move on to greener pastures and Matt Patricia scuttle back to New England.
Unlike the Houston Texans, at least the Lions had some draft capital to work with and got a foundational offensive lineman and cornerback the last two seasons. Theyve got some players to build from at least, but they will likely be in the vicinity of Tankville as they’re going to roll with Rams reject Jared Goff until they can upgrade, which will likely need to come in the draft.
Last season the Lions offense could make big plays off of Stafford’s arm while the defense was truly horrible. Stafford’s ability will be missed this year on offense while the defense will have trouble digging out of the bsement that has caved in on them.
5-11, 4th in NFC North
Points: 32.4 points per game, rank 32nd
Yards: 6.3 yards per play, rank 31st (tie)
Football Outsiders Ranking: 32nd
Points: 23.6 points per game, rank 20th
Yards: 5.7yards per play, rank 12th (tie with 4 teams)
Football Outsiders Ranking: 16th
Super Bowl: +15000
AFC/NFC Champion: +6600
Win Total: 5 (Over +100, Under -121)
The biggest move is of course trading Stafford for Goff and draft picks. It was a rebuild move and probably a good one, as the Lions weren’t going to be able to put together a good enough team in time for Stafford to lead them anywhere other than an 8-8 record.
They also replaced Patricia with ex-NFL tight end Dan Campbell. He brought in recently fired Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn as offensive coordinator and Aaron Glenn as defensive coordinator. Campbell is old-school in many ways and is all about the team culture. He’ll need to be all about finding serviceable players at each position, because right now they are lacking.
They also let their best and second-best wide receivers go when Kenny Golladay signed with the Giants and Marvin Jones signed with the Jaguars in free agency. They didn’t replace those two in any real way, which will only make things tougher for Goff.
Detroit ended up bringing in some middling offensive weapons, as they signed Jamaal Williams and rookie Jermar Jefferson to replace Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson while first-round pick D’Andre Swift is the last one standing.
To replace Golladay and Jones they signed Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Kalif Raymond, Damion Ratley and rookie Amon Ra St. Brown. Quinten Cephus and Geronimo Allison round up a sub-par wide receiver room.
Biggest question entering training camp
There are plenty of questions heading into training camp, as many of the Lions players are questionable starters in the NFL. But it looks like the weakest position group is on offense at wide receiver. Losing your best two receivers to free agency and replacing them with Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman is suspect at best. But that does open the door for rookie St. Brown, second year player Cephus. But the ultimate question is if Goff can retunr to something near his Super Bowl run with the Rams or, as most suspect, he was a product of great situational play calling by Sean McVay?
What needs to happen for the Lions to win the Super Bowl?
Besides unspeakable disasters hit every other team in the league, the Lions won’t win the Super Bowl this season. And they don’t want to win games this season. If they did, they’d have added better players in free agency. To win some games this year they’ll need their defense to improve vastly and Goff to take a big step forward from the last couple seasons of steeping backward.
Vying for the No. 1 pick is the most likely outlook. The Texans are their biggest competitor for that distinction, but Detroit has the team to compete.