The Detroit Lions will open up training camp later this month and as it happens every year, there are a ton of questions that need to be answered about this team. Today we’re going to look at the questions that have been burning a hole my brain all offseason long. Let’s jump into it.
Is this offense for real?
It’s not a question that can be definitively answered until the season gets rolling, but it’s something we can at least get a partial answer to by watching it in camp. The Lions offense has a bunch of new parts to it, starting at the top with new offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. From everything that we’ve heard, he is installing a pretty much new offense. We’ve seen a little bit of what the Lions are doing with it in OTAs, but what’s going to happen at camp?
Then, of course, there’s the new receivers in DJ Chark and Jameson Williams. How quickly will their presences be felt? Don’t forget Mark Brunell’s high praise if Jared Goff. Will Goff indeed show up looking better than ever?
Lastly, this unit is healthy for the most part. The offensive line is full gear and the team is getting back T.J. Hockenson too. It’s should also be fun to see how 2021 breakout guys like Amon-Ra St. Brown and Craig Reynolds are coming along.
Who’s going to show up healthy?
Detroit is dealing with a ton of injuries right now, but several seem poised to return to the field at the start of training camp. Right now Jeff Okudah seems to be a the top of that list. He looks to be in the best shape of his life and is moving like a guy that never got injured.
What about Jameson Williams? The first-round pick has expressed in the past that his goal was to be ready for camp after tearing his ACL in the National Championship game in January. Last we heard, Lions coach Dan Campbell said he doesn’t see it happening. Does he show up at camp at some point?
There’s also Jerry Jacobs and James Mitchell. Both players are trending towards being ready sooner rather than later. That seems less likely for Romeo Okwara, who wasn’t doing much of anything at minicamp.
Can the Lions stay healthy?
Here’s a big one. The Lions dealt with a ton of injuries last season and it really affected their ability to get the ball rolling. That could very well happen again this coming season if the Lions cant stay healthy. This is a tough question to ask and it’s the biggest one that fans should hope doesn’t have a negative answer. Just hold on for the ride.
Is the culture still rolling?
This one seems like a preemptive yes. We’ve seen no indications that the culture of the Lions is slipping, but the curiosity here is can the team keep it going and how has it evolved from last year?
The Lions have added a lot of culture fit guys to the team this offseason and the belief has to be that this team is still very much all in, we should get to see proof of that in a whole new way when “Hard Knocks” drops on HBO in August.
Will the world fall in love with the Lions on Hard Knocks?
It’s a big deal that the Lions are going to be broadcasted into homes all over the world in August. Slowly, the Lions are becoming a bit of a darling in the national media ever since Dan Campbell won over doubters with a strong finish to the season. That should likely continue once the world gets an even closer look Campbell and the staff he’s curated. How many new Lions fans will appear after this season?
I’m sure HBO is hoping for a lot. They’ve struggled with ratings over the last few years. They had record highs with the Raiders in 2019 and then suffered record lows with the Rams/Chargers in 2020. Things didn’t go to well with the Cowboys last year either. Perhaps the burning question that HBO is wanting to have answered is can Dan Campbell save Hard Knocks?
Has the defense improved?
Perhaps the biggest question that I personally would love an answer to is if the Lions defense is going to take a big step forward in 2022. Much like the offense question, it’s not something we will get an answer to until the season starts, but we should absolutely be able to glean something out watching the unit work in camp.
The Lions put in a lot of work on their defensive line this offseason and it should be interesting to see who lines up where and which players emerge as starters or role players. It’ll also be nice to see the progress of guys like Derrick Barnes, AJ Parker and Jerry Jacobs. Lastly, is the Jarrad Davis reclamation project going to pay off? We’ll soon see.