clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tuesday open thread: Why is the 2023 Detroit Lions team different?

We’ve been excited about Detroit Lions teams of the past, but what makes the 2023 team different?

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

“This year feels different.”

That’s a phrase many of us have probably uttered about the Detroit Lions before. Desperate for signs that this franchise has finally escaped its horrific past, we’ve tried to convince ourselves that the Lions have finally arrived after decades and decades of losing. Just about every time, we’ve been wrong.

The 2023 Detroit Lions haven’t proven anything, let’s be clear. A good team on paper doesn’t mean anything if the wins don’t actually come. But we can’t pretend we’re not currently in uncharted territories with this team. They’re favored to win the division—something they haven’t accomplished in 30 years. They’ve got top-10 odds to win the Super Bowl, and are the favorite to win 12 of their 17 games this season.

But why are we here? What is reason this is the team that is different from all of the promising teams of the past? Today’s Question of the Day is:

Why is this 2023 Detroit Lions team different than the ones of the past?

My answer: Youth and potential stardom.

When you think about the past Lions teams that got the closest to success, the 2014 team probably comes to mind. And what did that team feature? A handful of young stars. Their defense was particularly amazing, led by Ezekiel Ansah (25 years old), Ndamukong Suh (27), Nick Fairley (26), DeAndre Levy (27), Darius Slay (23) and Glover Quin (28). They were the sixth-youngest defense in the league.

The Lions, now, are similarly young on both sides of the ball. They were the youngest team in football last year (youngest defense, sixth-youngest offense), and with six draft picks in the top three rounds this year, they’re going to stay that way.

As for the superstar potential, they’ve got (deep breath): Jahmyr Gibbs, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams, Sam LaPorta, Penei Sewell, Frank Ragnow, Aidan Hutchinson, Jack Campbell, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Kerby Joseph. That doesn’t even include a couple of promising Day 2 picks like Alim McNeill, Brian Branch, Josh Paschal, and Hendon Hooker.

The Lions made a concerted effort to get very young very quickly. And if even half of those aforementioned players turn out to be stars, the team has the potential to be extremely competitive not just for 2023, but well beyond.

Your turn. Scroll down to the comment section and share why you think this year’s team is different.

NEW: Join Pride of Detroit Direct

Jeremy Reisman will drop into your inbox twice a week to provide exclusive, in-depth reporting and insights from Ford Field. Subscribe to go deeper into Lions fandom, and join us on our path to win the Super Bowl.