The Detroit Lions have finished the exhibition season and now must concentrate on making roster decisions. How will this regime handle the opportunity?
Head coach Dan Campbell and his staff have completed their evaluation of their players. Now comes the hard part, making roster cuts.
Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes have done their best to add talent to a roster that isn’t exactly among the most gifted in the NFL. But a complete rebuild takes time and only so much can be done in one offseason.
For the Detroit Lions, roster cutdown has traditionally been pretty easy to figure out. This has been an organization that has gone what they consider the safe route for decades. Whether that has simply been a product of poor evaluation or just fear of making a bold decision, it is just the way this franchise has operated.
Now with a new regime, they have the chance to put their stamp on how things will be different going forward. Brad Holmes has used the term ‘retooling’ to describe what he and Dan Campbell are doing with the Lions, but semantics aside, this is clearly a rebuild. It is also desperately needed.
The plus side of a rebuild is that it opens up freedom to make decisions a team may not normally make. Coaches can keep players based on the idea that future production is more important than the current because of building towards a point of expecting to win.
This also means that the opportunity to get rid of players that teams felt shackled to is prevalent because of a change in direction, and sweeping out the old debris is part of change. That means there will most likely be roster decisions that will be a bit surprising.
Dan Campbell has been very open throughout training camp and the preseason about his thoughts on building the roster for this coming season. He has also been pretty frank about indicating where players stand with him.