PSO: My Thoughts On The Lions Season So Far (Six Games In)


The annually disappointing Lions have trudged to a beastly 1-5 record to start the season.  Haunted by injuries to star players, a major lack of defensive talent, poor decision making by Coach Dan Campbell, and a grossly mishandled kicker situation, the Lions are once again under performing in their second year of this new regime’s rebuild.  You would be hard pressed to find a student in East or even in the Detroit area that can remain optimistic about this season.

That being said, here are my thoughts so thus far in the 2022-2023 season.

First off, Dan Campbell should probably not be back after this season.  His decision making and clock management was questionable last year and, if anything, has somehow gotten worse this season.  His choice can be directly attributed to losing at least one game (Minnesota), and severely hurt them in at least two others (Philadelphia and New England).  The worst you can allow your head coach to be is a non-factor.  If a head coach is actively the reason teams are losing games, then that guy needs to be cleaning out his desk.  And it’s not like Campbell is just recently taking over as head coach.  He now has well over a season of head coaching experience, and it doesn’t seem like he has learned anything.  It’s incredibly disappointing because I really like Campbell and have expressed how he helps the team in a lot of aspects, but it just doesn’t seem like he gets how to properly run a game.  Unless he shows major, major improvement in the remaining eleven games, it’s time to move on after his second season.

That being said, I think Campbell’s counterpart, General Manager Brad Holmes, deserves more time.  Lions fans have been quick to throw Holmes’ name in with Campbell when calling for heads to roll, but the former Rams executive needs and deserves more time.  While it’s true that Holmes’ drafting injured players the last couple of seasons has hurt the Lions early on, it’s not inexcusable.  Jameson Williams is a special talent, the closest thing to Tyreek Hill that we’ve seen in a while.  He’s still recovering from a torn ACL, but Williams will play this season and a torn ACL is not a massive concern.  Edge rusher Josh Paschal was also injured when drafted but made his debut against the Cowboys and had an encouraging performance, notching a couple tackles and setting the edge for a crucial stop.  The most concerning thing he has done so far was refusing to address the defense in free agency this past season.  Mike Hughes and Deshon Elliot were solid signings, but those were the only non-draft additions to a putrid defense that’s on pace to be one of the worst ever.  I like the direction that Holmes is taking the team, but he needs to hurry the process up a little.  If he goes another offseason without making any impactful trades or signings, then we can start discussing how long the team should keep him.

If the answer wasn’t clear as to whether or not Jared Goff was the guy, Sunday and last week’s game against the Patriots should have made it perfectly clear.  He’s not.  He gave up four turnovers against the Cowboys alone and several more against the Patriots.  Several of those turnovers were either returned for touchdowns or led to drives that ended in a touchdown for the opposition.  He’s cooled down significantly since the season began and hasn’t played a complete game since he put on a Lions jersey and has become more and more of a liability.

The Lions should have plenty of options in the draft based on the way the season is going, but Bryce Young is far and away my preferred pick for them.  The only knock on the ‘Bama quarterback is that he’s short, which I dispute as an issue considering as he is six feet tall, the same height as future hall of famer Drew Brees.  He’s also only an inch shorter than Jalen Hurts.  But everything else about Young seems to garner universal praise.  He’s mobile, has a fantastic football IQ, and has a better arm than Goff.  Not to mention, the Lions currently roster Young’s favorite college receiver, Jameson Williams.

While I’m on the subject of drafting, it’s also becoming painfully obvious the Lions should have drafted a runningback in the last draft.  D’Andre Swift is one of the better runningbacks in the league when healthy, but of course the key phrase there is “when healthy’.  Swift has rarely not been injured and has now been out of action for a month.  There hasn’t been a time this year he wasn’t on the injury report.  Meanwhile, Kenneth Walker III has taken over the starting runningback job in Seattle and is already turning heads and putting up big numbers.  Before tearing his ACL this past weekend, Breece Hall was getting rookie of the year buzz.  Dameon Pierce won the starting job back in training camp and has been solid to really good for a dilapidated Texans team.  The Lions didn’t need to outright replace Swift, but having someone better than Jamaal Williams on the roster would have been a wise move.  At minimum it would have created a potent one-two punch in the backfield, at worse it would have lead to a low drop off in case one of the backs got hurt.

Basically, Campbell and most of his coaches need to go.  However, despite some mistakes in the draft and too much hesitancy in free agency, Holmes needs a couple more years to see which of his guys pan out.  We still don’t know what half to a third of his picks are capable of, and we still might not by the end of the season.