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2024 Training Camp Thread


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We are slowly closing on closing in on the start of training camp and I figured I would start a thread so that I could do something besides read all of the "proposed moves" that the pundits think the Lions should make.  This is a very different year for the Detroit Lions.  They followed up their successful 2023 season with some solid veteran acquisitions and what looks to be a very solid draft class.  They are coming into training camp with a relatively healthy roster.  They are also facing some expectations that are as high as I have ever seen for any Lions team.  That said, here are some things that I will be tracking:

Coaching Staff:

Dan Campbell--He has grown into one heck of a coach.  He beat Andy Reid, Sean McVey and Todd Bowles last year.  He seems ready to step into the highest echelon of NFL coaches.  I am hoping to see him craft gameplans that put games away early.  I would love to see more boring 4th quarters

Ben Johnson--He needs to be more unpredictable.  I think teams got dialed into him a little bit and it showed in the 3rd quarter and other situations.  He needs to make sure the offense can hit any player at any time.  He got a little too keyed in to ARSB and Sam LaPorta at times.

Aaron Glenn--This is the year where we find out what he can do as a defensive coordinator.  He had a very up-and-down year last year.  Sometimes he was brilliant.  Sometimes he was confounding, especially with player usage and the inconsistent pass-rush.  Terrell Williams and Deshea Townsend are proven high-quality assistants who are big improvements over the coaches they replaced.  Kelvin Sheppard is a very good LB coach and seems to be progressing towards a DC position.  The talent level in our secondary has a good combination of high-quality veterans promising young players.  Our D-Line could be very good.  Our LBs are solid also.  I know he is a former CB but when he says things like "I like sacks too but..." it creates some doubt on whether he wants to create a defense that can truly shut teams down.  He said it last year when the pass-rush disappeared.  He said it again in an interview during OTAs.  Barring a rash of injuries, there are no more excuses for a bad defense in Detroit.  He has all of the tools to create a very good defense.  It is time to unleash the best version of Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn.

Dave Fipp--Dave Fipp had a quiet year down the stretch.  He needs to be unleashed.  The new kickoff rules should let him put his special teams mad scientist hat on a lot more often.  

Offensive Players

Jared Goff--He just needs to continue to be the same Jared Goff he has been since mid 2022.  There are some things he could polish though.  One thing he could do is improve his mobility.  There were times when he had a lot wide-open field in front of him.  He doesn't need to be Lamar Jackson.  Just do enough to make teams respect his willingness to run and turn no-gain plays like a throw-away into positive yardage.  He also needs to not decide where the ball will go based on pre-snap alignments so often.  He needs to trust his ability to read defenses. 

ARSB--Just be ARSB

Penei Sewell--As good as he was last year, Penei Sewell wasn't perfect.  He needs to stay focused on his footwork and movement skills.  He added some weight last year and there were times when he looked sluggish.  A couple of speed-rushers really gave him problems.  He needs to stay balanced and keep his feet moving.

Jameson Williams--I read that he didn't have a drop after Week 8 last year.  He really started to flash late last season.  Based on what has been said so far, his route tree and his ball-tracking skills have improved quite a bit even before training camp.  The closer he gets to having his mental part of the game match his physical skills the more dominant he will be.  All the right things are being said.  He needs to unleash the alpha-dog WR that we have been waiting to see.

Sam LaPorta--I will probably be in the minority on this but I think a little less Sam LaPorta might lead to more impactful plays.  Those 6-8 yard short catches are something that can be accomplished by a #2TE, #3RB or #3/#4 WR.  This especially true given the fact that we are expected to make another deep playoff run.  Keep him a little more rested and less banged up early so that he is more impactful when we really need it.  Dialing it back to 70-75 catches with a higher YPC might be better for the whole offense.

Christian Mahogony and Giovanni Manu--Just learn.  Hank Fraley is one of the best O-line coaches in the NFL.  They have Taylor Decker, Kevin Zeitler, Penei Sewell, Frank Ragnow and Graham Glasgow in the O-Line room with them.  Learn from Hank Fraley.  Learn from the high-level veterans.  This is the best possible situation for them and it is a great situation for the Lions.  Personally, I think it would be pretty awesome to see Giovanni Manu play special teams square in the middle of the FG defensive line.  At 6'7" with 34.5" arm length and a 33"vertical he is bound to swat away at least one FG or PAT.

Defensive Players

Aidan Hutchinson--As good as he is, he needs to become a more skilled pass-rush technician.  He needs to have a much better pass rush plan and be able to string together 2 or 3 pass rush moves seamlessly when is he gets stopped initially.  Part of that was due to the not-great D-Line coaching last year.  Terrell Williams should be a big help to Aidan Hutchinson.

Alim McNeill--He is another player that should benefit greatly from the coaching of Terrell Williams.  That said, he needs to be a much better finisher with his pass-rush.  There were a number of times where he pushed his blocker right past the QB without even getting an arm out to change his throwing motion of forcing the QB to move and reset their feet.  He still had a career best 5-sacks last year.  He should be able to do better with DJ Reader playing next to him and Terrell Williams coaching him.

Broderic Martin--I was encouraged to see him undergo a physical transformation during the off-season.  Of all the players on the D-Line, he might be the biggest beneficiary of Terrell Williams coaching.  He also might have been hurt the worse than any other player on the D-Line by the not-great D-Line coaching last year.  The Lions need him to be the #3DT that can keep DJ Reader and Alim McNeil fresh.  Physically, he has all the tools you could want.  Based on his transformation and what the coaches are saying, his work ethic pretty good.  With DJ Reader still recovering from his Quad injury, he is going to get a lot of coaching and a lot of reps.  He seems primed to take a step forward but it may not be apparent until midway through camp.

Ifeatu Melifonwu--I talked about the impact of Terrell Williams at length but Deshea Townsend could be just as impactful for a player like Iffy.  Assuming he stays healthy, he could really anchor the back end of the defense.  The mental part of the game finally started to catch up to his considerable physical tools and it was awesome to watch.  He is a menace with his blitzing skills and is adding pass-rush moves in the off-season.  He is a pretty solid tackler.  He showed that he can use his length and strength to get penalty-free PBUs.  The improvement in is recognition skills showed up in the form of some big plays in the passing game.  He has been healthy all off-season.  He hasn't received a lot of talk in terms of being a "breakout player" but if he takes another step forward it could be transformative for the Lions defense

Amik Robertson--Folks haven't been talking about him a lot since the draft.  However, what he can be is be a effective CB#1 if Carlton Davis misses time with injuries which he has every season over the last few years.  Despite his height, there may not be too much of a drop-off if that happens.  It also means Terrion Arnold, despite his immense talent, can be worked in at a steady pace without having to "drink from the firehose".   Amik Robertson can hold down the CB#2 position if Terrion Arnold isn't playing well or if the Lions have concerns about him wearing down later in the season.

Terrion Arnold--He is going to get a crash course at playing CBin the NFL by seeing ARSB and Jameson Williams every day.  What I am hoping for is patience.  I would much rather see him peaking as we head into the playoffs then struggling in the same manner as Darius Slay during his rookie season.  

Special Teams

I don't care who it is, I just hope somebody grabs the starting PK job and owns it.  Michael Badgely has hit some big kicks but he has also put himself in a position to create enough doubt to bring in serious competition for the job.  The Packers thought enough of James Turner to bring him in for their 3-way PK battle following his release from the Lions.  I wish the Lions had kept him done the same at least for the first couple of weeks of training camp.  Regardless, they need to find the answer at PK so that they aren't looking for one in a season where they are expected to make another deep playoff run.

What is everyone else tracking?  Thoughts?

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Two things I have been thinking about this off-season. First, I don't know who it will be but I would not be surprised to see the Lions get a significant addition via another team's cap casualty. Second, I have no doubt that the Lions will be a major benefactor of the new kickoff rules. Though I doubt we will see any of the new tricks until it matters.

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16 hours ago, Typical_Lions said:

Two things I have been thinking about this off-season. First, I don't know who it will be but I would not be surprised to see the Lions get a significant addition via another team's cap casualty. Second, I have no doubt that the Lions will be a major benefactor of the new kickoff rules. Though I doubt we will see any of the new tricks until it matters.

One thing that isn't getting a lot of attention is the ability of teams to not give up big plays under the new rules.  The Lions will have to make sure they don't get caught flat-footed.  

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It is easy to get excited about a player like Terrion Arnold just based on his physical skills.  He is also showing some top-shelf work ethic and leadership even before the start of training camp.  It is good to see him working so hard but I hope the Lions will be getting the best version of him at the end of the season.

Terrion Arnold might be the Lions next Amon-Ra St. Brown, or even beyond that (msn.com)

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2 hours ago, Just Want A Title said:

It is easy to get excited about a player like Terrion Arnold just based on his physical skills.  He is also showing some top-shelf work ethic and leadership even before the start of training camp.  It is good to see him working so hard but I hope the Lions will be getting the best version of him at the end of the season.

Terrion Arnold might be the Lions next Amon-Ra St. Brown, or even beyond that (msn.com)

Thats definitely the mentality you like to see in guys.  I feel like at this level everyone is pretty talented and the gaps between the really good and the out of the league guys is not very wide. So it takes extra hard work to close that gap and stay in the league and be very good at least.  To be elite you need the skill, athleticism and work ethic which he has so his potential is definitely through the roof.  Not to say he will reach that but the odds of doing it are better when he is putting in this effort.  Hopefully that rubs off on others. 

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56 minutes ago, Sllim Pickens said:

Thats definitely the mentality you like to see in guys.  I feel like at this level everyone is pretty talented and the gaps between the really good and the out of the league guys is not very wide. So it takes extra hard work to close that gap and stay in the league and be very good at least.  To be elite you need the skill, athleticism and work ethic which he has so his potential is definitely through the roof.  Not to say he will reach that but the odds of doing it are better when he is putting in this effort.  Hopefully that rubs off on others. 

The only "concern" I would have is making sure he doesn't peak too soon in his rookie season.  Even all of the advancements in training and nutrition, the NFL season is a lot longer than college.  We are primed for another playoff run so making sure that he doesn't hit a wall will be pretty important.

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