Following a disappointing 2018 campaign, one Hall of Famer believes the Detroit Lions bounced back to have one of the best offseasons in the NFL.
2018 was a difficult year for the Detroit Lions. After four years of relative success under head coach Jim Caldwell, which included two trips to the postseason, the Detroit Lions decided to fire their head coach. In Caldwell’s place, the Lions hired former New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
Under the watchful eye of legendary head coach Bill Belichick, Patricia led the Patriots’ defense to six-straight AFC conference championship games and three Super Bowl appearances during his tenure as defensive coordinator. By signing Patricia last February, the Lions landed the top coaching candidate on the market. And the hope was he’d be able to take an already playoff-caliber team in Detroit and get them over the hump.
Unfortunately, changing the culture in Motown proved to be difficult for the first-time head coach. And despite bringing in some ex-Patriots to help the cause, the Lions earned themselves the basement seeding in the NFC North with a disappointing 6-10 record. Some even speculated that Patricia’s job could be on the line after just one season.
Instead, the Lions doubled-down this offseason bringing in even more former Pats to help change the direction in Detroit. Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this year, longtime Dallas Cowboys executive turned NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt ranked the Lions as having the fourth best offseason on any team in the league. And that’s due in part to them continuing to invest in ex-Patriots to help change the culture in the Motor City.
Here’s what Brandt wrote recently on NFL.com about Detroit’s offseason additions.
"“Veteran signee Danny Amendola will provide Matthew Stafford with a quality slot receiver, but even beyond that, he will help Patricia get his message across in the locker room better than anyone in 2018. He joins [Justin] Coleman and [Trey] Flowers as part of the latest wave of Patriot-connected players brought in by Patricia and Quinn, who both cut their teeth in New England.”"
Along with those former Patriots, Detroit would also add veterans like cornerback Rashaan Melvin, tight end Jesse James, guard Oday Aboushi, and running back C.J. Anderson to their roster via free agency. In the draft, early selections in tight end T.J. Hockenson and linebacker Jahlani Tavai are both expected to make instant impacts. And Day Three rookies like defensive end Austin Bryant and cornerback Amani Oruwariye could make a splash as well.
Finally, let’s not forget the addition of Darrell Bevell as the Detroit Lions’ new offensive coordinator. With an emphasis on the running game, Bevell is expected to transform an offense that ranked a lowly 25th last season scoring just 20.3 points per contest. Combined with an improving defense that actually was able to crack the top ten in the NFL late last season (net total yards), and Detroit appears to be set to have a rebound year following a very successful offseason.