Head Coach: Dan Campbell
2020 Record: 5-11
There’s no gentle way to say it; The Lions sucked in 2020. The only reason they were remotely competitive was Matthew Stafford, who despite being on a bad team… yet again… put up terrific numbers as he has for most of his wasted Motown career. Adrian Peterson sounded like a good idea on paper, but the guy is what, 50 now? And D ‘Andre Swift, who showed flashes, wasn;t used near enough. The receiving corps was average on a good day. The line was decent, but without NFL level skill players, it didn’t matter.
And the D. It’s not fair to say they were bad… they were historically bad. They gave up…. and no, you don’t need to look this up, it’s not a typo… almost 7,000 yards. That’s a number you should only see in Madden.
The big problem was Matt Patricia. It’s a mystery why the Lions held on so long to a guy who didn’t have any business as the head coach of a high school team, much less an NFL Franchise.
2021 Draft Picks
1-7 T Penei Sewell, Oregon
2-41 DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
3-72 DT Alim McNeill, North Carolina State
3-101 CB Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
4-112 WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC
4-113 LB Derrick Barnes, Purdue
7-257 RB Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State
When your D is the worst in the NFL, you go D in the draft, and the Lions did, landing 2 monsters on the DL and and possible the best O-lineman in the draft. As far as drafting to their needs, it looked like a good draft.
QB Matthew Stafford (To LA Rams)
WR Kenny Golladay (to Giants)
WR Marvin Jones (to Jaguars)
RB Kerryon Johnson (to Eagles)
Obviously losing the best QB in Lions History is massive, but it’s a rebuilding year, so yeah… Goff it is. None of the others are really a big deal.
Key Pick Ups
QB Jared Goff (from Rams)
WR Tyrell Williams (from Raiders)
WR Breshad Perriman (from Jets)
RB Jamaal Williams (from Packers)
These will all be starters, and all will put up numbers. But all are really just mid level fillers for the rebuilding process.
Offensive Coordinator: Anthony Lynn
2020 Points Scored: 377 (20th)
Matthew Stafford finally managed to escape Detroit, and God bless him for it. One guy can only take so much. Pretty much the entire group is gone, but they weren’t a competitive group anyway. AP has also departed.
In comes Jared Goff, and it looks like he’ll be around for a bit based on the way the Lions set up his contract. D’Andre Swift looks to be the focal point of the O, and with he and Green Bay import Jamaal Williams running behind what should be one of the NFL’s better lines, they could end up being a pretty good 1-2 punch. Goff will be throwing to a bunch of guys most of us have never heard of, so don’t expect anything significant out of this unit in 2021.
Defensive Coordinator: Aaron Glenn
2020 Points Allowed: 519 (32nd)
Former Jets DB Aaron Glenn is calling the shots for the D now, but don’t expect a ton of improvement. They didn’t add anyone significant in free agency, and while they did draft well,, it’s unlikely any of the rookies will have a huge impact in 2021. The good news is that it’s almost statistically impossible for them to get worse.
While the outlook is grim pretty much everywhere else, the Special teams should actually be pretty good. Punter Jack FOx landed in the Pro Bowl, returner Jamal Agnew was a beast, and the coverage team was among the best in the league; that makes sense… they damn sure had plenty of practice. Matt Prater had some accuracy issues, but he’s as clutch as any kicker in the league.
If Things Go Well
So what’s the best case scenario for the Lions in 2021? Goff isn’t a bad QB; the guy was just in the Super Bowl a few years ago. With the line they have and some decent (non-geriatric) RBs and a slightly more average group of receivers than they had before, the offense might be average. There just isn’t enough firepower here to outscore anyone though, and with this D… Vegas has the Lions pegged to win 5 games. That probably is best case scenario..
If They Don’t
The D makes everyone look like a juggernaut. Goff is bad. Wins are few and far between.
2021 is as extreme a rebuild as you’ll ever see in the NFL for the Lions. The front office was gutted. The coaching staff was gutted. The offense was gutted.. Only the D is intact, and… yeah. The good news? In 17 games they’re bound to stumble into a win or two.
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