Big red flag for Detroit Lions in 2023 is one fans would rather ignore

A big red flag for the Detroit Lions this year, some may say the biggest, is one a lot of fans would prefer to ignore.
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Among red flags for the Detroit Lions this season, a big one (the biggest?) is one many fans would just rather ignore.

The Detroit Lions haven't been matched with the word contender in a sentence in a long time. But for 2023, here they are as the favorites to win the NFC North. It's unclear how a burden of expectations will hit this group of players, but there is a segment of the roster that has experience in big games and head coach Dan Campbell will not embrace any hype.

If you were to talk red flags for the Lions this year, it might start with the idea the defense would ideally improve noticeably for the team to meet expectations. A lack of great depth at wide receiver might be another one to put on the list, at least while Jameson Williams serves a six-game suspension to start the season.

But there's another thing, hiding in plain sight, that shouldn't be ignored as a big red flag.

Massive red flag for the Detroit Lions this year is one a lot of fans would rather ignore

Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently listed out his biggest red flags for each NFL contender in 2023. The Lions are of course considered a contender, and thus qualified for the list and to be given a red flag.

Benjamin concisely called his biggest red flag for the Lions "Jared Goff's ceiling", with a brief explanation.

"They went just 9-8 and didn't play a postseason game in 2022, but everyone loves them to emerge in the NFC North after a spending spree to upgrade the defense. Goff, meanwhile, has been solid and should enjoy an even speedier setup, with Jahmyr Gibbs joining the fold. But we've seen his big-spotlight limitations before, even on an all-star Rams lineup."

The last line of Benjamin's assessment fits with what some other people would say about Goff. Last season was one of the best seasons of his career. He has noticeable limitations in some areas, and they haven't magically disappeared in a cloud of good play last season.

Many Lions fans don't want to entertain the idea Goff could regress this year, as if to even think about it means it will come to fruition. A subset of those fans think he'll be even better this year than he was last year.

Back toward Benjamin's sentiment. Goff feels like a quarterback who's more likely to fall short in a "big-spotlight" moment than make a play than wins an important game. That may not be the biggest red flag for the Lions this season, but it is a very big one that many fans would much rather just ignore.

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