After all of the build-up throughout the offseason, most Detroit fans would tell you they are disappointed with the product that is currently being placed on the field. The defense has seemingly regressed from its already weak form of 2021, and while the offense has proven to be explosive at times, consistency is still an issue. It is no one’s perception that this is a good football team at this point in the season, but is this necessarily a bad thing?
Sitting at 3-6 about halfway through the regular season is nothing to celebrate, however, I would urge fans to be more patient with this regime before blindly calling for those in charge to be placed on the hot seat. Despite Detroit’s 2022 struggles, this team is finally being built the right way. Working off of the foundation laid by former GM, Bob Quinn, Brad Holmes has constructed one of the most formidable offensive lines in the entire league. While not considered the “flashy” pick, selecting a player like Penei Sewell shows commitment to the hardnose style of play promised with the hiring of HC Dan Cambell.
After spending a multitude of premium picks to bolster the offensive front, Detroit boasts its most prolific rushing attack in over a decade. Detroit rumbles for over 130 yards a game on 5.0 yards per carry, both marks landing in the top ten amongst all teams in the league. Detroit’s duo of talented backs, D’andre Swift and Jamall Williams, have enjoyed a combined 3.6 yards before contact, and have produced some of their most efficient career performances. The running game in Detroit hasn’t been this effective since the days of Barry Sanders, and its continued dominance will open up more opportunities in the passing game for OC Ben Johnson to work with.
While the Lions have been somewhat inconsistent in passing the ball this season with Jared Goff under center, few of these struggles can be attributed to the offensive line. No quarterback who has played as much as Goff this season has been sacked less (13). Previously mentioned OT, Penei Sewell, has a lot to do with Goff’s pocket comfortability, allowing just a single sack on over 525 offensive snaps in his second season.
This line is young and only primed to get better barring any injury setbacks. Aside from a potential All-Pro leap from Sewell, veteran Center, Frank Ragnow, and Tackle, Taylor Decker are already established elite talent, not to mention the emergence of Guard, Jonah Jackson who was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2021. Now that Detroit’s offense of the future has its foundation built, Brad Holmes will likely move to do the same on the defensive side of the ball. With the plethora of high-end picks at Detroit’s disposal this offseason, don’t be surprised if we see a complete defensive retooling. The Lion’s rebuild was never meant to be a one-year process and Holmes dedication to building from the line of scrimmage shows that he understands this will take an ample amount of patience.