Believe it or not, we’re less than a month away from football returning.
After a whirlwind of an offseason for the Detroit Lions, it’ll finally be time for Dan Campbell’s first iteration of football to take the field—albeit for preseason action—but who cares; it’s football!
This leads us to today’s Question of the Day…
What intrigues you most about the 2021 Detroit Lions?
There’s plenty to choose from when it comes to answering this question, but therein lies one of the greatest accomplishments of this organization in recent memory—excitement, interest, intrigue.
One part of the Lions “re-tool” is image rehabilitation. Three years of Matt Patricia left the on-field product stale, tired, and unimaginative. Some might have viewed the hiring of Campbell to be an overcorrection after his introductory press conference, but after seeing the coaching staff he’s assembled in Detroit, it’s clear there’s more to Campbell than the 30-second soundbite about kneecaps—or showing up to a press conference wearing a racing helmet.
Slowly but surely, you’ve seen pieces of this hire helping bring the vision into focus. Earlier this week, veteran defensive tackle Michael Brockers joined the Jim Rome Show where he outlined how this coaching staff is a fundamental departure from the one before it.
“There’s a lot of guys coming from that ex-Patricia era, and they’re like, ‘Man, this coaching staff understands,” said Brockers. “This coaching staff talks to you, they communicate with you.’ And you see a lot of guys loving that and buying in.”
The aforementioned staff that Campbell has put together in Detroit goes hand-in-hand with what Brockers is talking about and what I’m most intrigued about this season: the realization of talent and potential of players from the Patricia era.
When you have a coaching staff full of ex-players, they’ve been there. They get it. They’ve been on that practice field before. There’s a difference between being talked to and talked at, and reading between the lines, that’s where I think Brockers nearly took his overarching message about the difference between these two coaching staffs.
And that has me excited for the first time in a long time about Lions football.
Specifically, it’s about the presence of Aaron Glenn as defensive coordinator and what he’s going to do to improve this Lions secondary along with defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant. It’s about seeing Jeff Okudah getting the right coaching to live up to his potential. It’s about seeing Tracy Walker, a player who showed so much promise his rookie season, getting a chance to be himself again on the field. Even beyond players from the Patricia era, it’s about free agents like Quinton Dunbar and Corn Elder, players who have been productive in the past getting an opportunity in Detroit to learn from some of the best defensive back coaches in the league.