The Detroit Lions concluded mandatory minicamp last week, which—for many Lions—means the last team activities before training camp at the end of July. While there is still a week of OTAs left, veterans are not expected to be around. In other words, most of the big observations about this team’s offseason activities are done.
Over the next week or so, we’ll be recapping everything we saw over the past month and what it means for the 2023 Detroit Lions. But let’s kick things off with a big-picture question.
Question of the day:
What was the biggest takeaway from Detroit Lions offseason activities?
My answer: The improvements in the secondary are potentially drastic.
If there was one thing that was borderline stunning, it was how active and effective Detroit’s secondary was for just about every practice we watched. Obviously, there was an expectation for improvement with the additions of C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Cameron Sutton, but I didn’t really expect to see that much of an improvement that quickly.
Even quarterback Jared Goff came away impressed.
“It’s much stickier I feel like this year,” Goff said of the secondary’s coverage. “And whether that’s a product of new players or just having another year in the scheme, I can’t tell you. But it’s been much stickier and much harder for us to gain separation at this point in OTAs and I think they’ve done a hell of a job making it harder on us and growing as a unit over there too.”
Of course, there are a bunch of caveats to consider here. For one, there are certainly questions about the Lions’ receiving options right now. With no DJ Chark or T.J. Hockenson this year, the offense is adjusting on the fly with new options like Marvin Jones Jr., Jameson Williams, and Sam LaPorta. There is clearly a buffer period for those players to develop chemistry with Goff. Additionally, the defense is typically ahead of the offense at this point in the season.
But when you also consider that Tracy Walker and Emmanuel Moseley aren’t even on the field yet, you have to feel pretty darn good about the potential of this unit going forward. Gardner-Johnson, Sutton, Jerry Jacobs—even depth pieces like Ifeatu Melifonwu, Brian Branch, Starling Thomas V, and Saivion Smith—were all making consistent plays this spring.
If the secondary is truly as improved as OTAs suggested, a big jump on defense is certainly possible.
Obviously, you all didn’t attend OTAs and minicamp, but based on the observations you’ve read, what has been the most important development to you? Scroll down to the comment section and let us know!