2. Key Lions players set to regress
Lions quarterback Jared Goff has been open about the huge impact Johnson has had on him, and his strong finish to the last two seasons coincides with Johnson’s increased role (2021) and having key pieces healthy this year so Johnson could use his whole playbook.
The case for the Lions being hesitant to give Goff a contract extension is rooted in this season being one of the best of his career, on the heels of three years of regression. He’s not as bad as he was early in 2021, but not as good as he was over the final 9-10 games this season. He’ll enter next season with the fifth-longest streak of pass attempts without an interception in NFL history (324). There may be nowhere to go but down from here.
Jamaal Williams was the Lions’ first 1,000-yard rusher since 2013 this year. He also set the single-season franchise record for rushing touchdowns with 17. He is a free agent, with sure-fire mutual interest in him being back in Detroit. Another 1,000-yard season could happen, if he has the lead back role again. But 17 rushing touchdowns is not sustainable, no matter where Williams is playing next season.
The Lions red zone proficiency in 2022 (45 touchdowns on 68 trips; 66.2 percent) was rooted in Williams’ goal line prowess. Even if he is back, there will be gap there to be filled elsewhere next season.