The Detroit Lions will be anything but the Same Old Lions this upcoming season. With a new front office, coaching staff, and several new players populating the roster, no one knows quite knows what to expect from the 2021 version of The Pride.
But the team will certainly look different, especially on offense. That’s mainly due to a new quarterback under center in Jared Goff and a wide receiver corps that features several unproven veterans who played elsewhere last year.
But the Lions figure to rely heavily on their strengths under new head coach Dan Campbell. Detroit seems to have found a reliable running back in D’Andre Swift entering his second season in the NFL. And Swift has one of the most talented offensive lines to run behind. This group features Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow, former first-rounder left tackle Taylor Decker, and 2021 first-round pick Penei Sewell at right tackle.
Here’s what Tim Twentyman wrote for DetroitLions.com recently about what direction new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn might take the Pride’s offense in 2021.
“Lynn has a track record of being able to adapt his offenses to the strength of his personnel, and here in Detroit the strength appears to be upfront along the offensive line and in the backfield. Quarterback Jared Goff has been one of the better play-action passers in the league over his career, and having a consistent rushing attack that defenses have to respect will go a long way to playing to that strength.”
The Lions ranked near the bottom in the NFL in rushing last season averaging just 93.7 rushing yards per game. According to TeamRankings.com, Detroit ran the ball just 37.03% of the time. WIthout quarterback Matthew Stafford under center, fans should expect that percentage to be much better balanced by Lynn.
As the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers last season, Lynn’s offense ran the ball 41.35% of the time. And that was with starting running back Austin Ekeler suffering through an injury-plagued season where he was limited to just 10 games. Also, rookie quarterback Justin Herbert posted a very successful first season, throwing for 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions.
Based on Anthony Lynn’s history and the current state of the Detroit Lions roster, expect the Pride to rely heavily on their rushing attack to take full advantage of D’Andre Swift and their offensive line talent. Plus, doing so should open up the passing offense by using a successful running game to set up the play-action pass.