clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Notes: Former NFL coach expects Lions to win NFC North

Mike Martz likes what he sees in Jahmyr Gibbs, Ben Johnson’s offense, and the new Lions secondary.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Football website The 33rd Team has been posting previews for each NFL squad one per day since late July, and on Friday it was Detroit’s turn. Former NFL head coach Mike Martz, who led the Rams to the Super Bowl (and was offensive coordinator for a title team) when they used to be in St. Louis, was the analyst with the breakdown of the Lions’ prospects heading into 2023 and boy is he optimistic. In the embedded video at the top of Martz’s preview article, he says straight away that he believes the Detroit Lions will win the division.

Back in January, the man responsible for the Greatest Show on Turf called offensive coordinator Ben Johnson one of the best in the league. In the newly-posted preview, retaining Johnson to run the offense was Martz’s top off-the-field storyline. According to Martz, losing Johnson to a head coaching job elsewhere “would have been devastating for the football team because he really has a rapport. He’s very creative, and he really understands how to rush the football, which is pretty outstanding.”

Drawing on his own experience with the Rams in the late 90s, coach Martz had high praise for the improvements made by the Lions on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. On offense, he emphasized the run game again, citing David Montgomery as a “huge signing” and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs as a potential breakout player. A few months ago when the team drafted Gibbs, Martz pointed out the former Alabama running back makes the offense “instantly better.” In his Lions preview, the former Rams coach wrote Gibbs is “the first guy I’ve seen who reminds me of Marshall Faulk,” and believes he “might become the centerpiece of their offense” the way that Faulk was for the Rams.

On the defensive side, Martz liked the Lions’ pick of linebacker Jack Campbell, but much of the focus in his preview was on the defensive secondary. It’s natural to see he’s very high on the Lions’ hiring of former Rams cornerback Dre Bly as a new defensive backs coach. Obviously Martz knows Bly in a coach-player capacity from their time on the Rams, but he is also very familiar with Bly’s skill as an assistant coach. Bly was the cornerbacks coach for Martz in 2018 at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. It’s often pointed out that Bly got his official start in coaching later that year as a hire for the Alliance of American Football’s San Diego Fleet franchise right before heading to UNC as a position coach.

The head coach of the San Diego Fleet who tried to hire Bly? That was Mike Martz.

He’s a guy who knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level, and he’s excited about the prospects of this Detroit Lions team. Mike Martz believes they will take the NFC North crown in 2023. Do you? Check out his team preview for the Lions over on The 33rd Team’s web site and get hyped. We now proceed to the rest of your weekend Notes:

  • The Lions players have takes on each other as golfing buddies:

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.