What should we expect out of the Detroit Lions during the 2021 NFL season? The Pride have a new regime, one that seems to be making all of the right decisions and definitely leading in a way the organization has never seen before.
But what does that mean for the team’s immediate future? Let’s break down both sides of the ball in Detroit heading into training camp.
The Lions’ offense, on paper, is not as good as they were a season ago. They arguably have a worse quarterback, Jared Goff, and don’t have as many or as good of weapons on the outside. Despite those statements being true, new head coach Dan Campbell has made it clear the Lions will be a run-first offense.
With the run game being the strong suit, Goff and his receivers only need to make a big play a few times a game, which is definitely doable. Goff was a very effective quarterback in Los Angeles with the Rams when the run game was doing its job.
As for that run game, they will be led by D’Andre Swift, who had a stellar rookie season tallying 10 total touchdowns in 13 games a year ago. The Pride also have Jamaal Willams and rookie Jermar Jefferson, out of Oregon State. Those appear to be the team’s top three backs heading into camp, all with something to prove in 2021.
Back in April, the Detroit Lions drafted offensive lineman Penei Sewell with the seventh overall pick. With that addition to the offensive line, the Lions should be pretty solid upfront.
All in all, even though on paper the Motor City’s offense may not look as good as they did a year ago, they have a new offensive coordinator, Anthony Lynn, who has been able to take very little and win with it. There is a reason for optimism on this side of the ball.
Throw out whatever you think you know about this defense. Don’t look at what these players did a year ago, two years ago, or even three years ago. The last three seasons this defense was led by an incompetent and underqualified coach that was clearly not doing his job therefore the Lions defense performed poorly on Sundays.
Cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, who was coached by new Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn during high school, was not only excited about that hire but even tweeted It’s hard not to be excited about 2021 just four days after Dan Campbell’s introductory press conference.
There is going to be a lot of learning and a lot of development on this side of the ball, but we should see strides being made week by week. Campbell and Glenn will not put up with regression at any time this season or in the future.
The Detroit Lions 2021 expectations will be affected by what Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers decides to do. If Rodgers doesn’t play in Green Bay, then the Lions should be competing for the NFC North division title.
If Rodgers does play, the Packers should be above and beyond the best team in the division, therefore the Pride should be focused on getting better each week and making strides.
With the NFL now playing 17 games, the Lions should be shooting for seven to eight wins, which would put them in a good spot for the 2022 draft and free agency. They would also be primed to take another big step in the 2022 season as well.