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Sunday open thread: Are the Detroit Lions ahead of schedule in Year 3 under Dan Campbell?

Entering Year 3 of the Dan Campbell/Brad Holmes era, are the Detroit Lions ahead of expectations?

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s been about two-and-a-half years since the Detroit Lions made the hiring of coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes. Though the two hires were made completely separate of each other, the two have noted time and time again how simpatico they are. It’s clear both have very similar visions of the future of this franchise and how to get there, plus their working chemistry seems top notch.

When they took over, the franchise was at a pretty low point—not 0-16 low, but not too far from it. Immediately, they had to orchestrate the trade of a franchise quarterback, then build the roster up from the foundation.

As we enter Year 3 of this regime, expectations are as high as they’ve been maybe ever in the Super Bowl era. Suddenly the expectation is to win the division, and that means not only a home playoff game, but actual hope and belief that this team can finally make some noise in the playoffs.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Is this regime farther along in Year 3 than you expected when they were hired?

My answer: Back in 2021, I think most of us circled Year 3 as the expectation for this team to make a significant jump. Teams can turn around quicker than that, and there were definitely fans who were frustrated with Detroit’s slow-and-steady progress. But the Lions chose the slow and steady route.

However, that leads me to the reason I still believe they are ahead of schedule, despite the fact that 2023 was the year we circled as the playoff-bound year. Campbell and Holmes took no shortcuts. Just about every move they’ve made in free agency or the draft has had a long-term vision in mind. So the last two years haven’t been about winning the division in 2023—it’s been about winning in 2023 and beyond.

I expected the Lions to be very competitive after giving this regime three offseasons to improve the roster. What I didn’t expect is the long-term health of this team to be so promising right now.

In three year, the Lions have got one of the most healthy salary caps with very few poor contracts on the books. They have one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, filled with potential Pro Bowlers and foundational players.

The only thing that is missing are the actual wins. Yes, 9-8 was probably above most people’s expectations last year, but if they are actually going to meet and surpass expectations, they need to go out and win the division and even win a playoff game—and soon.

What do you think? Vote in the poll below and share your reasoning by scrolling to the bottom of the page and sounding off in the comment section.


Are the Lions ahead of schedule in Year 3 under Holmes/Campbell?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Yes, they’re ahead of expectations
    (1721 votes)
  • 28%
    They’re where I expected
    (702 votes)
  • 0%
    No, they’re behind schedule
    (21 votes)
2444 votes total Vote Now

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