The Detroit Lions are ready to swing with the big boys

For Detroit Lions fans, many long suffering like myself the dream is finally becoming a reality. In a pinch me moment of epic proportions the Detroit Lions are becoming legit Super Bowl contenders. So legit there is no “wait for the laughter,” or “where’s the punch line” of which the Lions have been for a long time.  No this is a rebuild that the rest of the NFL is watching very closely.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAR 01: Brad Holmes, general manager of the Detroit Lions speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions and GM, Brad Holmes are doing everything right. That felt both weird and good to put out there. While it is true the Lions have not won a playoff game in 30 years, and coming off an eighth consecutive single digit win seasons, it seems like a lie. But 15 months ago the Detroit Lions had just three wins.

So how did the Lions get to the point they are ready to swing with the big boys from the wreckage of the past? For starters when owner Shelia Ford Hamp and GM, Brad Holmes chose to start from scratch they had a very good starting QB, Matthew Stafford who was traded to the L.A. Rams for a boatload of draft picks, including this years Rams pick at #6 overall……. THANK YOU RAMS!!!!

Brad Holmes, took an axe to the Lions old way of drafting one or two good players, (think Barry Sanders and Herman Moore) and not adding more talent to and around them to build a true winner. Holmes is adding to players like Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams.

Out also went age and in came youth. This was one thing Holmes spoke about early on. The one area that needs the brightest light shown on is Brad Holmes drafting. ESPN’s draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said he gives Holmes an A+ as a drafter. That is hard to argue with.

With two drafts under his belt, all, yes all of Holmes draft picks have not only played but gained more playing time a taken starting jobs away from veterans. Now armed with 9 picks in the first three rounds of this years draft, including 2-first round draft picks and Detroit who was 5-1 last season in divisional games are set to take another step forward.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 02: Head coach Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions looks on during the first half of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Ford Field on October 02, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Brad Holmes is heading into year 3 as Lions GM as Dan Campbell is heading into year 3 as head coach. The team they have built and are building is poised to make some serious noise this season. The short term pain (well long term if you’ve followed this team for a while) is about to be washed away.

Headed to the playoffs? The Detroit Lions push forward

No matter if the Detroit Lions are on target or arriving a year early in the organizations rebuild, the 2022-’23 Lions have shown fight and the team is on the cusp of being a pretty good football team. As for the playoffs, a couple key things have to go right one in a stadium the Lions rarely play well, the other is hoping another team can knock off the team currently in the final playoff spot.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 20: A Detroit Lions helmet is seen on the sidelines during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions head to a place that has been nothing short of a house of horrors for the team on Sunday, Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. Of course a possible playoff spot would hang in the balance an Lambeau. Yet, this is a golden opportunity for the Lions to end the SOL (same old Lions) once and for all.

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell has stated this is the new Lions, players have echoed the coach. Even if the Lions fall on Sunday, the team has taken a big step forward and show the promise of being a very good, competitive team as soon as next season.

A win against the Packers alone will not get Detroit into the NFL Playoffs. The team needs the Los Angeles Rams to beat the Seattle Seahawks to get in. Ironically enough, the Lions hold the Rams first round draft pick which is set to be #6 overall and could be higher, if Seattle beats the Rams.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 01: An Inspire Change logo is seen on the field prior to the game between the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on January 01, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

For the young Detroit Lions no matter the outcome, this season has been one that the future foundation will hang on. Starting the season 1-6 to then get red hot was a great turnaround. The fact that the Lions are even close to being a possible playoff team is testament to the work GM Brad Holmes, has done.


In the midst of a rebuild the Detroit Lions are playing a big game today

When Brad Holmes took over as GM of the Detroit Lions, both Holmes and Lions Principal Owner, Sheila Ford Hamp said the team was going to rebuild from the ground up. That rebuilds take time, but in order to set future winning up, the rebuild was necessary. Not even two years into a massive rebuild the 5-7 Detroit Lions host the 10-2 Minnesota Vikings today at Ford Field. The 5-7 Lions are favored to win.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – MAY 27: Principal Owner and Chairman Sheila Ford Hamp watches the afternoon practice session with Head Coach Dan Campbell and General Manager Brad Holmes and President Rod Woods on May 27, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Every fan base of a team the has rebuilt or is rebuilding, looks for a sign that things are trending in the right direction. Rebuilds do take time. How much time is largely dependent on the GM, scouts and head coach. When Brad Holmes took over the Detroit Lions, Holmes took an axe to previous GM Bob Quinn’s roster.

The Lions won just 3 games last season, Holmes has had two very good drafts which is laying the foundation for what is taking place today. with two more wins and still more games to be played the Lions are in the mix for a playoff spot.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 04: Jared Goff #16 of the Detroit Lions looks on against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field on December 04, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Jared Goff who was viewed by, well everyone as a bridge quarterback seems to have found a home in Detroit where Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell view him as “THE GUY.” Goff’s numbers back leaderships view of him. 3022- yds passing, 19- td’s 7-ints show why Goff has been to two Pro Bowls and taken the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl.

Still football like every sport is a team game. The Lions defense which struggled mightily to find it’s footing, has done just that the past 4 games. The team has found a pass rush, the secondary has played better and the linebackers are getting to the ball much better.

Still this is not even two years into a big rebuild and the Detroit Lions are favored over a team that has 10 wins and is the division leader. This should excite fans, it should be a warning to the rest of the NFC, the Detroit Lions are coming. They may or may not make the playoffs this season. But they are coming, sooner than later.

The Detroit Lions are setup for success in the very near future

Success is not a word often associated with the Detroit Lions. Through the years and decades the Lions have had limited runs of success not consistent or prolonged for sure, this time however, it feels different. GM Brad Holmes has drafted very well in the two NFL Drafts he has lorded over. The Detroit Lions roster is not built to win many games this season, the team currently sits at 2-6 on the season. When the offseason rolls around, all bets are off.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 06: Kerby Joseph #31 of the Detroit Lions intercepts a pass intended for Robert Tonyan #85 of the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on November 06, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

Armed with seven draft picks including two-first round picks, The Lions are set to bring in another solid draft class and perhaps a franchise quarterback. The Lions young offensive playmakers and solid offensive line would be ideal for a young QB.

The Lions defense has been a bit of a mess, but the unit has started to play better as of late. Rookie safety Kirby Joseph has stood out and was named Defensive Player of the Week last week for his two-interception 10-total tackle performance against the Green Bay Packers.

As stated, Brad Holmes has done a very good draft, no real surprise there given the GM spearheaded the Los Angeles Rams draft and helped put a Super Bowl Championship team on the field in L.A. Last week in a move that surprised some Holmes traded TE T.J. Hockenson to the division rival Minnesota Vikings for more draft picks.

By trading Hockenson, Holmes freed up more money and the Lions now have $80 million in salary cap room. In other words, Brad Holmes is going shopping during the offseason. Free agents will be brought while as the young core is gaining experience playing games.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 01: Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 1, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

So to recap, Brad Holmes drafts very well, with seven draft picks and an outstanding quarterback class, Holmes can draft his franchise QB. $80 million in cap space, suggests that Holmes will address needs at safety, cornerback linebacker nudging the Lions closer to contention.

What Holmes has asked Lions fans to do with saying it publicly is to sit through one more bad season. His moves have set the Lions up for prolonged success.

Final thoughts on the 2022 Detroit Lions draft class

Six defensive players drafted, while only two offensive players were selected. With that the Detroit Lions and general manager Brad Holmes concluded the 2022 NFL Draft. So what gives? The rebuilding Lions have needs up and down the roster, which Holmes drafted some of those areas of need and rather masterfully. The Lions defense definitely got a boost. The offense while needing some upgrades was and is in better shape.

Ranking 31st in scoring defense and 29th in total defense in 2021-22 made upgrading the unit paramount. I do not believe for one moment Brad Holmes and the rest of the Detroit Lions front office walked into team headquarters in Allen Park with the mindset of drafting six players on the defensive side of the ball. I do believe as the draft was taking shape and players fell to them they made the call.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE SEPTEMBER 11: Jackson State DE James Houston was selected in the 6th round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Houston had a prolific year during his final season of play at Jackson State University after transferring from the Florida Gators. He finished the season with 16.5 sacks, named SWAC Newcomer of the Year and also named to the SWAC First Team Defense. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU University Communications/Jackson State University via Getty Images)

Needing a lot of help at edge rusher the Lions selected three (Aiden Hutchinson, Josh Paschal and James Houston.) Needing both help and depth in the secondary Holmes found two to his liking (Kerby Joseph, safety and Chase Lucas cornerback.) for good measure Holmes drafted linebacker Malcolm   Rodriguez to round out the defensive draft picks.

Only wide receiver Jameson Williams and tight end James Mitchell were selected for the offensive which may be telling of how the Lions brass feel about the offensive side of the ball. In a lackluster quarterback draft, the Lions will ride Jared Goff once again, which is not a bad thing.

Brad Holmes once again did a masterful job at addressing needs. As the dust settles on the 2022 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions are a better football team. The team now has edge rushers who can get to the quarterback. The secondary looks more solid while the linebackers are still a bit weak. You simply can not fix every area in one draft.

The Lions offense looks to be able to make things uncomfortable on opponents. Jameson Williams once he returns (rehabbing from a torn ACL) gives the Lions the deep threat they have been missing, which should help the running backs and with play action.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 01: Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 1, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

All and all, this was a very good draft for Brad Holmes and the rest of the Detroit Lions front office. I don’t like to give out grades as the proof is on the field. But a knee- jerk  grade would be a solid A.

Drop a comment and let me know what you think of the Detroit Lions draft class.

The Detroit Lions should not add Baker Mayfield and or Deebo Samuel

Detroit Lions general manager, Brad Holmes told the media and the Lions fan base at his introductory press conference that he intended to build the core of his roster through the NFL Draft. Holmes cautioned this would take some time without putting a timeline on the roster restructure. Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has asked for a trade as the Browns have brought in  Deshaun Watson to call plays. In San Francisco wide receiver/ running back, Deebo Samuel has asked for a trade due to being over used and wanting to lineup just at receiver. The Detroit Lions should stay away from both players, here is why.

ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 26: Detroit Lions helmets in the bench area prior to the week 16 NFL game between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons on December 26, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

If the Detroit Lions were closer to the end of a rebuild and ready to compete for division titles and playoff spots, then trading for either Samuel and or Mayfield could make some sense. After all both players are young and talented.

Jared Goff the current Detroit Lions quarterback is and should be the stopgap quarterback until the team is ready to draft a QB (which could happen in this years draft.) Baker Mayfield who’s character has come into question is better suited to call plays elsewhere in my opinion as Lions head coach Dan Campbell is still building the culture he wants.

Deebo Samuel is talented. There is not question, and no debate about it. While the Detroit Lions do have a need at the wide receiver position, does it make sense to either give up draft picks as well as then sign Samuel to a $20-$30 million per-year contact for a team that is not close (at this time) to winning?

Back to the comments Brad Holmes not only made but continues to bring up, building through the draft. Everyone likes quick fixes, I know I do. But in sports quick fixes are the equivalent of a band-aid. Meaning there is still much work to do to stop the bleeding of losing.

Holmes also said that the organization needs as much draft capital as they can get. Trading Matthew Stafford to the Ram last offseason helped the Lions acquire precious first round draft picks in 2022 and 2023. Judging by his comments made a few days ago, Holmes does not sound thrilled with the rising costs at the receiver position.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 02: A detail view of a NFL Crest logo is seen during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 2, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That cost would not only be in money form, but if they traded for a player like Deebo Samuel it would surely cost at least one if not two first round draft picks. This is a retooling of a roster that has needed one in the worst way. I echo what Brad Holmes said the proper way is to build is through the draft and not rush by costing the team draft capital and salary cap space.

Drop a comment and let me know what you think of the Lions plan to build through the draft.

By standing pat in free agency the Detroit Lions must nail the draft

The 2022 NFL Draft is next week. For the rebuilding Detroit Lions who did not make much noise in free agency the draft became that much more important. Detroit re-signed many of their own free agents to short deals in hopes that will be enough to win a few more games while building a core group of players through the draft. Theoretically that is the right path to take although it does put a lot of pressure on the front office to get the draft right.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAR 01: Brad Holmes, general manager of the Detroit Lions speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions have two first round draft picks which is certainly a nice luxury to have. Picking #2 overall and dead last in the first round, Lions general manager Brad Holmes must maximize this opportunity for the sake of the rebuild.

It should bother no one the Lions were pretty silent during the free agent period. This is not a great year for quarterbacks in the draft although there are a couple who are interesting prospects. Wide receiver, edge rusher and defensive backs are the flavor of this years draft.

It is widely being speculated the Detroit Lions may snatch one of the elite edge rushers at #2 then what? That seems to be anyone’s guess. Logically it seems that if the team drafts defense then they should go offense with the second first round pick.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – JANUARY 02: A general view of a Detroit Lions helmet before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on January 02, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Logic is out the window. Sort of. You hear the phrase “best player available” a lot leading up to and during the draft. That needs to be tossed for the Lions. They need a game plan for the draft. With the current roster any player the team drafts is the best available in other words no player on the roster is better than the newest draft pick.

If Brad Holmes can add a blend of offense and defense the way he did last year the Lions will be a better team. Not adding impactful free agents puts the spotlight on the general manager and scouting department who must produce a solid draft class.


With the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, Detroit Lions fans should be excited about the future

The 3-13-1 regular season record does not sound like a bright future is ahead for the Detroit Lions. What if I told you that given the state of the L.A. Rams, the Lions future has very good potential? This is not a “homer” or “drink the kool-aid” write up, so ditch that thought right now. This is what I see looking at both teams. One playing in the NFC Championship Game (Rams) and one trying to reverse it’s fortunes (Lions.)

General view of the Kool-Aid man in the Kool-Aid lounge during the after party for “Spy Kids: All The Time In The World 4D” Los Angeles premiere co-sponsored by Osh Kosh B-Gosh & Kool-Aid at the EPSN Zone at L.A. Live on July 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. *** Local Caption ***

The Los Angeles Rams are a very good football team and on on the cusp of grabbing a spot in Super Bowl LVI (56.) The Detroit Lions are rebuilding….. again. However this is where hope comes in, hope in the form of Lions general manager Brad Holmes.

Holmes you may recall spent 18 years working in the Rams organization.  You see Brad Holmes played a large role in the Rams roster building. Holmes is known for getting tremendous talent in the mid to late rounds of NFL Draft’s. Something he demonstrated with his first Detroit Lions draft class.

With seven draft picks in last years NFL Draft, six of Brad Holmes seven picks became starters during the 2021 Detroit Lions season. The seventh draft pick gained more playing time as the season moved along.

The Lions traded longtime starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Rams and cashed in. Holmes has two- first round draft picks, a second round draft pick and three third round draft picks as well as one each in rounds 4-7. One more draft tidbit of note the Lions have been awarded an NFL record three compensatory draft picks due to free agents who signed with other teams.

As if the plethora of draft picks was not enough the Lions will have $35 million in available salary cap space and will be able to bring in a few big name players to push the rebuild along. That is something Brad Holmes spoke about after the season.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – JULY 28: General Manager Brad Holmes of the Detroit Lions looks on during the Detroit Lions Training Camp on July 28, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Holmes told reporters that he now intends to add players, signaling that 2021 was a bottoming out season for the Lions. NFL rebuild are faster that other sports.

For Detroit Lions fans take a look at the L.A. Rams. If you like what you see and it is hard not to, imagine that coming to Motown.

With the 2021 NFL trade deadline coming, will the Detroit Lions make a move

Detroit Lions principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp, recently said about her franchise’s current rebuild, “Everyone knew this was going to be a hard year. A rebuild, no one wanted to say that exactly, but we all kind of knew it was going to be and I think, as I say, the good news is that our young guys are getting a lot of experience, probably a lot more than they would have normally, So, I think at the end of this year, we’ll really know what we have. I think we’re building our foundation, and as you know, we have a slew of draft picks coming up the next few years. So, I see nothing but positive going forward. I think we’ll have a chance to really, really improve ourselves, and I feel like we’ve got the right leaders to get us there.”

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 24: D’Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions rushes for a touchdown during the first half in the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

For the 0-7 Detroit Lions who’s record hides the fact that rookies have played very well and improved week to week, the trade deadline can speed up the painstaking rebuild.

Lions General Manager, Brad Holmes who knows the Los Angeles Rams very well, could swing a massive trade is he chooses to do so. The Rams are in the market for a running back. Not that the Lions want to deal one, but one player could net a huge return.

D’Andre Swift, who is one of the NFL’s versatile running backs could net the Detroit Lions a return they simply could not turn down. Rams general manager Les Snead, has never shied away from dealing draft picks to gain talent.

The Lions who currently holds two first round draft picks in next springs draft could add more. Dealing a player like Swift, the Rams could cough up draft picks that include:

2022 second round draft pick

2023 second round draft pick

2023 third round draft pick

GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 09: A Detroit Lions Helmet sits on the field before the NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals on December 9, 2018 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That is not an overvalue of D’Andre Swift. As I stated he is very talented and would fit seamlessly into the Rams offense. I am not saying this will happen. But in a rebuild nothing is or should be off the table. Including one of the better young players in the league.

Will Brad Holmes swing a massive deal like this? We will find out next week.


Detroit Lions: Jared Goff and General Manager, Brad Holmes are not tied together

As far as the NFL goes there is a rule of thumb. That rule of thumb is that quarterbacks are tied to general managers. Meaning, when drafted or signed as a free agent or even traded for, the general manger (GM) and his job security is directly tied to the quarterback that is brought in. When Detroit Lions general manger Brad Holmes traded longtime starting quarterback (QB) Matthew Stafford and received draft picks and Los Angeles Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff many believed Holmes and Goff were tied together. I do not view that as the case here is why.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – JULY 28: General Manager Brad Holmes of the Detroit Lions looks on during the Detroit Lions Training Camp on July 28, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

No matter if Brad Holmes is true to his word (no reason to think otherwise) and he and the Detroit Lions were happy to get Jared Goff in the blockbuster trade or if Goff was a salary dump by the Rams, it does not change the fact Goff is now the starting QB in Detroit.

Due to his contract Goff will need to be on the Lions roster at least two years before the team can move on if that is what they choose. That said, I do not believe Brad Holmes job is in any trouble as long as Goff is the Lions quarterback win or loss.

The Lions are in a rebuild. A rebuild that in the early stages is off to a solid start. Holmes has focused, both his first draft as Lions GM and free agency on building the offensive and defensive lines. Which in my opinion is the right way to build a team.

It is also my opinion that Jared Goff will at the very least serve as the rebuild QB. This can work in the Lions favor. If Jared Goff can recapture his Pro Bowl form he could be a longer-term solution for the Lions who then would not need to use a high draft pick for a quarterback. If Goff’s play continues to decline, the Lions are only on the hook for two years before they can move him.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – MAY 27: Principal Owner and Chairman Sheila Ford Hamp and General Manager Brad Holmes watch the afternoon practice session on May 27, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

This is one case I feel where GM and quarterback are not tied at the hip. It is a rare exception dues to the rebuild that is taking place.