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Saturday open thread: How good will the Detroit Lions’ defense be in 2023?

The Detroit Lions have made a point to add talent to their defense in 2023. But how much will it help them improve?

NFL: DEC 11 Vikings at Lions Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Detroit Lions’ defense was abysmal for most of the 2022 season, and finished 28th in defensive DVOA to end the year—an ever-so-slight improvement from 29th the year before. All of that is not lost on general manager Brad Holmes, who has made it a point to address the areas of need and add talent to the defense via free agency. Even before we enter the upcoming NFL Draft, this defense already looks so much better on paper. Here’s how things are shaping up as of today.

As always, shoutout to our own Erik Schlitt for putting in the effort in creating these graphics.

Even head coach Dan Campbell is fired up about the new-look defense.

“All of a sudden, man, if (we) don’t do anything else defensively, we’re going to be better,” Campbell said. “And we’re already working on scheme right now. (Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn) is back there cooking up all kinds of stuff, because you have the flexibility to do some things now because of what we’ve done on the backend. That alone, we’re going to be better, and we haven’t even hit the draft yet. Gets me fired up.”

Today’s Question of the Day is...

How good will the Detroit Lions’ defense be in 2023?

My answer: Call me crazy, but I think the Lions can make a giant leap from the bottom of the league last year, to the top half of the league in 2023.

The Lions may have had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last year, but they showed some improvements in the latter half of the season. In weighted defensive DVOA, they finished 23rd, which still isn’t great, but is still quite better than 28th in the league.

Holmes did a masterful job of attacking the team’s biggest need in the secondary by acquiring some big names in Cam Sutton, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and Emmanuel Moseley, and I expect that unit to turn from a weakness into a strength next year. Not to mention, they should be getting back their star safety and the leader of that secondary in Tracy Walker.

The defensive line should only get better, too, as the Lions are retaining their starters from last year, are healthier, and we could see them add some extra talent there with the bevy of picks at their disposal in the draft.

Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has been put in a tough position ever since he arrived in Detroit, working with mostly scraps, but that doesn’t completely absolve him from blame. The defense has still underachieved. However, with the front office finally pouring a ton of resources into the defense, I’m excited to see what he can do with the added talent. Dan Campbell is excited. And I trust Campbell more than anything right now.

Your turn.

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