On Tuesday afternoon, after the Detroit Lions’ opening OTA practice, the team premiered a new online show via their YouTube page. New Lions defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson hosted a gaming live stream, where he plays video games with a teammate while answering live questions from the YouTube comments.
In the premiere episode, Gardner-Johnson played new Lions running back David Montgomery in a game of NBA 2K23. The two had great conversations about their new lives in Detroit, the opening day of OTAs, and expectations for the Lions this season.
Personally, what I found most interesting was Gardner-Johnson talking about assuming a role as a leader for the team.
“People heard me today, and I’ma tell you why,” Gardner-Johnson said about Tuesday’s practice. “It’s more so bringing in intensity. What you’re going to see in the game is what you’re going to see 24/7 at practice. I practice how I play. So if I can’t go out there and do my stuff and be me and get under guys’ skin, I don’t think I’d be at my best.”
Gardner-Johnson also said his favorite new teammate was Marvin Jones Jr., and the two have already gotten together to help lead the young players on the team.
“Me and him got this friendly thing going in practice like, ‘Get the receivers and the DBs, we gotta go at each other,’” Gardner-Johnson said. “So I think that’s my favorite teammate because I think he’s going to push, as him being a vet.”
Both also talked about how impressed they were with the culture that’s already here in Detroit.
“Everybody around here—the coaches, the players—everybody bought in already and I just got here,” Montgomery said. “It’s just one of those things when you first got here—just me, knowing who I am, it’s not about me catching up. It’s more about, ‘Alright, this is the kind of morale everyone has around here, so I’ve got to be the same way.’ Everyone around here already want to work. I haven’t been anywhere where it’s like that and it’s a really good team.”
“It’s hard to find people that really want to work,” Gardner-Johnson added.
Ultimately, Montgomery said the defense won the day, but Gardner-Johnson said he’s feeling pretty optimistic about the offense, too.
“What I saw today, we can be very, very, very explosive (on offense),” he said. “It’s more than just one weapon. That’s what’s scary.”
It’s a pretty cool idea for some content, and both Montgomery and Gardner-Johnson were very loose and honest in their conversation. Check it out here:
- Speaking of OTAs, the Lions dropped a 90-second video of Day 1. And while it’s just players taking the field, it’s worth noting Tracy Walker has his helmet on and Jameson Williams is in attendance (remember, attendance is voluntary):
- The Lions announced Jack Campbell has signed his rookie deal. That leaves just Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta, and Brian Branch unsigned among Detroit’s draft picks.
- Yet another controversial proposal has passed in the NFL. This week, they agreed to making fair catches on kickoffs (from anywhere on the field) result in a touchback and possession at the 25-yard line.
- Lions fullback Jason Cabinda appears to have a response to that rule change—although he does not directly address the kickoff rule as his point of criticism:
They need to stop trying to change the game of football! The game is what it is and that’s what makes it so great! Keep the focus on innovating equipment and making it the absolute safest to keep guys as healthy AS POSSIBLE but the game is the game we know what we signed up for…— Jason Cabinda (@jasoncabinda) May 23, 2023
- Justin Rogers’ excellent film study of the Lions’ draft class continues with third-round pick Brodric Martin. Spoiler: he says there’s more to Martin’s pass rushing game than Rogers had anticipated.