I don’t know about you, but I had a hard time letting go of this season. I have spent the last couple weeks going back and watching videos, listening to podcasts and reading articles that had something to do with the 2022 Detroit Lions. On Monday, I took one more look into the past. Now it’s time to look to the future.
The Lions offseason is underway and this could be a big one for this team. The Lions could very well come out on the other side of this offseason as one of the best teams in the league if they play things right.
The good news for the Lions is that I have a game plan for them. I’ve gone ahead and made what I call the guide to the perfect offseason. Here are six things the Lions need to do to become great:
Retain your coaching staff
The Lions have already retained a huge piece of their coaching staff when they took offensive coordinator and hot head coaching candidate Ben Johnson off the board with a well earned raise in pay. But they are not out of the weeds yet. Aaron Glenn is still getting interviews and one team just recently joined the fray. The Arizona Cardinals reportedly interviewed Glenn in person this past weekend and he could be a real player there.
This could go poorly for the Lions if Glenn winds up getting this job. There’s a strong likelihood that if he leaves, he won’t be leaving by himself. Perhaps he would take someone like Kelvin Sheppard with him to be his new defensive coordinator.
The good news is that it would appear that the Cardinals are the only real threat here. The Colts have interviewed Glenn, but they have not had him back for an in person interview. That could change any day now, but the Colts have also interviewed around a dozen other candidates.
If the Lions can wind up keeping their guys together, that’s going to be a big win for this team.
Retain your own free agents
Two years ago the Lions roster looked to be filled with players who would have a short-term career in Detroit. I’ll be honest, most of these guys I didn’t want to keep beyond a season or two. I felt that way at the beginning of last year, too.
Guys like Jamaal Williams and Deshon Elliott aside, did you ever think you would be saying that the Lions need to try to keep Will Harris? What about Isaiah Buggs or John Cominsky? Those guys were supposed to just be bodies in camp or players to just get the Lions through the year. Now they’re must-haves for this team. The Lions need to make sure they bring back the majority of their free agents. That includes the likes of DJ Chark, Alex Anzalone, and Mike Hughes, who all made positive impacts last season.
If the Lions can retain these guys and a few others, they’ll be off to a hot start in free agency. The good news here is that many of these guys have publicly stated that they would like to return.
Make a splash in free agency
Brad Holmes has alluded to the idea that the Lions free agency strategy won’t be changing despite having more assets to use. And while that strategy in the past has involved mostly re-signing players—which I want—I don’t believe this means Holmes will be hesitant to take a swing or two in free agency.
They absolutely should. The Lions need to bolster a few spots on their team and there are some players who could definitely help in that effort. The Lions need to go shoot their shots with cornerback Jamel Dean from the Buccaneers and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds from the Buffalo Bills.
Both players are standouts and both players should hit the market due to the situations their teams are about to embark on. The Bucs are probably about to hit the rebuild button if Tom Brady truly decides to bounce, and the Bills are about to be in cap hell. Shoot your shot, Brad.
The Lions are a hot team right now. They finished the season 8-2 in their last 10 games and ended with a nationally-televised beatdown of the Packers. And after “Hard Knocks” last season, everyone can see the culture building in Detroit. What free agent wouldn’t at least entertain that opportunity?
Get new uniforms
Okay, this is the only one that really has nothing to do with how the team plays. It’s just time to get new uniforms. The Lions current uniforms were never really received that well and are a relic of the Matt Patricia era. It’s time for the Lions to change things up and hopefully go back to their roots. Make their new uniforms resemble the 90’s look. That’s what’s hot. Those 90’s Giants jerseys continue to make me feel jealous.
Also, I don’t care what you or your mother says, bring back the black alternate jerseys. Direct your hate comments to Jeremy Reisman. It was all his idea. I swear! [Editor’s Note: This is libel. You’ll be hearing from my lawyers.]
Make a splash in the draft
It is still wild that the Lions have a top six draft pick and it has nothing to do with their performance. In total, the Lions have five picks in the top 100 and can really do some big things with them. They can trade down and grab extra picks, they can stay put and let the board fall to them. Heck, if Holmes has a top-tier player they like, they have the ammunition to jump into the top three and get a game-change. Holmes has shown that he’s willing to move around in any direction, so nothing would shock me.
Whatever they do, they need to make sure that they keep their streak of great drafts going.
Stay healthy during all offseason activities
There’s a lot on the docket after the draft. There’s the rookie minicamp, OTAs, training camp and preseason games. The Lions need to try their hardest to stay healthy during all this. If they can walk into the regular season at full strength, the Lions can finally hit the ground running and avoid the two slow starts that plagued Dan Campbell’s first two seasons.
If the Lions simply follow all my guidelines, they will win the NFC North for the first time ever in 2023.