In a segment on the NFL Network Thursday night, front office veteran and current network analyst Scott Pioli named the Detroit Lions as the “new-look team” he was most interested in seeing play this season. Formerly of the Patriots, Chiefs, Falcons, Browns, Ravens, and Jets organizations, Pioli was named NFL executive of the year multiple times by both the Pro Football Writers Association and The Sporting News. Lions fans may also remember that Pioli was a potential candidate for the general manager position that Brad Holmes was eventually selected to fill.
In his quick breakdown, the former Kansas City general manager cited “real, tangible signs of improvement” in the team’s performance over their last six games in 2021 and the strong sense of buy-in by the players to what the coaching staff wants to do. He believes the good signs over that last part of the 2021 season like an improved pass rush (better sack differential), on-field discipline (fewer penalties), and special teams play (Rick Gosselin’s rankings) are the types of “detail things” that can have a big effect in the aggregate.
Yesterday in Notes, we saw how former Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky thinks the team will be one of the four that will make the biggest jump in win differential this year. Multiple outlets have praised the Lions’ offseason actions, and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero thought they were the most improved team after the draft. Add Pioli to the mix of fans in the national media of what Brad Holmes, Dan Campbell, and the rest of the Lions leadership group are building. We now move on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- Tim Twentyman from the official team site had Lions safeties coach Brian Duker on the fourth episode of his show “Twentyman in the Huddle.” The entire episode is available online on several major podcast outlets and also on YouTube in video format.
- Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press has a piece on offensive coordinator Ben Johnson’s assessment of rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams’ timeline to return to the field: “going to be a challenge.”
- Also, Ben Johnson is not having any of Aaron Glenn’s nonsense:
- MLive’s Kyle Meinke wrote about how the Lions are working with running back D’Andre Swift to maximize his availability on the field going forward.
- Reposted at Lions Wire, D’Andre Swift was excellent running to the left side but one of the worst starting running backs in the league up the middle according to NFL Inside Edge.
- These videos soliciting answers to fun questions from Lions players and staff are so good: