The Detroit Lions are preparing for big things in the league. After putting the NFL on notice this past year with a 9-8 record manned by a high powered offense, it’s clear that this roster is being built for long term success. General Manager Brad Holmes and Head Coach Dan Campbell clearly have a vision for the squad headed forward, and it’s strikingly similar to that of the current San Francisco 49ers team.
The offensive style has already been put in place, and it isn’t hard to see where Detroit took some notes. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but an offense built around a dominant offensive line with loads of talent at the skill positions to make it so the Quarterback doesn’t have to play hero ball in order for the unit to successfully move the ball. Both teams have the genius play caller that maximizes the talent on the offense. The similarities are striking, with a 2 running back tandem led by a receiving back and a very capable power back. A do-it-all slot receiver that can be a safety blanket on third downs. Flashy receiver number 2 with speed. Willingness to block by all players on the offense. Field General QB’s that don’t turn the ball over often. These schemes are nearly 1 to 1, and the Lions could be building something special, with inspiration from the 49ers.
On defense it is evident that the talent is not there, but the vision certainly is. A defensive line led by an explosive edge rusher which also gets interior help as well. A young linebacking core that is relatively talented and versatile (just haven’t put it all together yet to take that next step). A defensive back group led by a young, inspiring safety that plays hard, but is surrounded by a group that relies on pressure more often than not to make the big plays. The defense for the Lions is not nearly at the level of that absolutely dominant 49ers unit, but they have the makeup to get there soon with a few more pieces and some more years of development. The draft will be their best friend when looking to round this unit off with playmakers.
The Lions staff is building up something special in the Motor City, and it’s nice to see a formulaic approach for once, instead of the ways of previous regimes. This feels different because you can see the vision early, we just have to make it there. As a franchise of many lows, it’ll make us as a fanbase even more appreciative when we do finally reach the top.