One word you will always hear of of any coach’s mouth, at almost any level, is the word competition. Competing against opponents on gamedays, and against teammates in practice—competition is going to be prevalent in any healthy NFL organization.
As we get closer to August, both the temperature and the competition level will ratchet up. And that is no different for the Detroit Lions.
Sure, certain positions are fairly set in stone. All-Pro center Frank Ragnow is going to be the team’s starting center. Penei Sewell will be at right tackle during his second season in Detroit, while veteran Taylor Decker will be opposite of him at left tackle. After signing a contract extension this offseason, it’s safe to say that veteran safety Tracy Walker is not going to leave the field often.
Other positions on the Lions’ roster are much less settled, and will likely be decided during training camp and the preseason.
Who is going to be tight end two behind T.J. Hockenson? Brock Wright filled in adequately last year, but James Mitchell out of Virginia Tech should have an opportunity to unseat Wright.
The starting offensive line is likely set as is, but who will be the swing tackle in jumbo packages this season? Who will be the top reserve for the interior offensive line? With Evan Brown stepping up last season, on paper, the Lions actually have solid depth there.
Linebacker Derrick Barnes should have the game slow down for him some in year two, but unlike last year, there are players in the room that will push him for snaps right away, in newly signed free agent Chris Board and rookie Malcolm Rodriguez. Also, what role will the coaching staff concoct for Jarrad Davis to cause mayhem for opposing offenses?
What will the secondary look like in Week 1? Will Jeff Okudah be starting on the outside opposite of Amani Oruwariye? Who will be manning the nickel cornerback position for Detroit? As of now, it could potentially be Will Harris, AJ Parker, or even the Lions’ seventh round pick in the 2022 NFL draft, Chase Lucas.
The roster has improved since this time last year, and with improvement, competition increases.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which training camp battle are you most looking forward to?
My answer: There are several positional battles I will be keeping an eye on during training camp, but most of all, I will be looking to see how the second cornerback spot shakes out.
It’s been a really tough road for Jeff Okudah. He’s suffered serious injuries in back-to-back seasons, and endured two lengthy recovery processes. I think as fans, that sometimes gets lost on us—all the work that goes into athletes getting back to form. The hundreds of hours in physical therapy or at the team facility receiving treatment. I’m hoping that he can stay healthy this year, and remind everyone why he was such a highly touted cornerback prospect to begin with. It would certainly bode well for the Lions, both in 2022 and beyond.
What do you all think? Let us know in the comments.