San Francisco 49ers vs Detroit Lions game recap

There was bad, there was awful, there was some good sprinkled in and a rally that fell short. Just like that the Detroit Lions 2021 home and season opener came and went. The Lions had eight new players on offense and four newcomers on defense. The team also have a new head coach and coaching staff and a new general manager. No other NFL team has undergone more substantial changes.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 12: Jamaal Williams #30 of the Detroit Lions carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at Ford Field on September 12, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Let’s dive right into the bad. I mean there is no sugarcoating it. The Lions defense is bad. Bad may be a kind word to use. Former Lions head coach Matt Patricia was viewed as one of the problems of the defense. That simply is not entirely true. The Lions gave up 31 first half points to the 49ers.

New Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff looked, well bad and lost at times. To be fair the Lions roster is void of playmaking wide receivers. Still Goff is a good deep ball passer and did not attempt very many deep passes.

Some good news 2021 Detroit Lions draftee Derrick Barnes played well. The young linebacker played well and made some very nice tackles. Barnes looks like a player who should see more playing time until he cracks the starting lineup. If he continues to play well his time should come quickly.

One unit that was viewed as the Lions strength lived up to the billing. The offensive line. They opened running space for the backs. The Lions ran for 116 yards a marked improvement over the past several seasons. Second year player Jonah Jackson and rookie Penei Sewell stood out. Both players held their own vs a 49ers defense that is one of the leagues best.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – JULY 28: Detroit Lions head football coach Dan Campbell speaks with the media before the Detroit Lions Training Camp on July 28, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

The Lions had a late flurry and almost pulled off a comeback. The team showed fight and fought until the end. That is something head coach Dan Campbell vowed when he took the head coaching job his team would do.

Rebuilds are not fun and losses mount. But if the Detroit Lions can come away with positives and fight until the end, the losses will be easier to take.

Little hints have been dropped about the Detroit Lions offseason plans

With new Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes brings a new direction for the organization. Also now in the mix is former Detroit Lions player and Lions legend Chris Spielman who is sitting in with Brad Holmes and Shelia For Hamp and others on draft and free agent plans. So here is a look at what Lions will probably do to improve the team.

The Detroit Lions have never been a franchise that has made big splashes in free agency. That trend looks like it will continue. In fact Lions fans should expect that the team will not sign any big name free agents. Look for Holmes to fill roster moves like Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila as well as Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman. Sign cheap players on a short 1-2 year deals.

01 May 2015: FormerDetroit Lion Chris Spielman during round 2 of the 2015. The NFL Draft is being held at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

What should be noted is that Chris Spielman and Brad Holmes and new Lions Head coach Dan Campbell all share similar philosophies. That it is better to build a team through the draft. Once a core group of players has been established then add to the core via free agency.

The Detroit Lions are in my opinion on the right track with the build your team through the draft thought process. So it is more of a, draft, develop process that leads to a younger team that is hopefully more athletic than the current roster able to grow together. There will be lumps along the way to be sure.

The fact that the Detroit Lions actually have an offseason plan is refreshing, on many levels. In years past it felt like they were throwing darts at a dartboard hoping to hit the board. They rarely did.

This is not an overnight fix. It took the Detroit Lions years to put a slow team filled with holes on the field. It will take time to reshape the roster. I have total confidence in Brad Holmes who helped to put a Super Bowl team on the field in Los Angeles with the Rams to build the Lions roster in much the same way.

SAN DIEGO, CA – DECEMBER 20: Head coach Dan Campbell of the Miami Dolphins stands on the field before playing the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 20, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

It is a good sign that owner Ford Hamp , Chris Spielman, Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes are all on the same page. It will do nothing but help the Lions moving forward.

The Detroit Lions hired Brad Holmes as General Manager and is looking at a former Lions player to fill it’s head coach vacancy

It has been a couple of busy days for the Detroit Lions. Actually the process of finding and identifying a new general manager and head coach has been around 70 days. The Lions have hired Brad Holmes as general manager and is looking at former Lions tight end Dan Campbell to fill its head coaching vacancy.

The Detroit Lions are starting over again. The team hired Brad Holmes as general manager. Homes had been with the Los Angles Rams and worked as  director of college scouting. Homes had been in the Rams organization since 2012.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 29: Detroit Lions helmet is seen on the field before the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

What kind of players does Holmes like? He gave a peek into his philosophy in identifying players, “When you get to the NFL level, everybody has got ability, Everybody is talented. Everybody is big, strong, athletic, fast, agile. Everybody has that. The separation is the intangibles. So you have to find out what actually drives the player. What level of passion does he have? How much does football mean to him? How hard does he really work? Does he have a mental toughness when things go bad? Can he bounce back? Can he persevere?  I used to be so enamored with the physical traits portion of it, at this stage now it’s like, man, if this guy doesn’t have the intangibles or the character, he’s not going to make it.”

The Detroit Lions have reportedly zeroed in on former Lions tight end and current New Orleans Saints tight end and assistant head coach Dan Campbell. Campbell played for the Lions from 2006-2008. Both the NFL Network and Sports Illustrated are reporting the Lions are locked onto Campbell for the head coaching job.

CHICAGO – SEPTEMBER 17: Tight end Dan Campbell #89 of the Detroit Lions is seen on the field the Chicago Bears September 17, 2006 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears won 34-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

What is Campbell’s coaching philosophy? This is what he said about that matter, “How you play the game, offensively and defensively, it was like identical,  It’s about running the football. Your quarterback makes smart decisions. You don’t win or lose with the quarterback. Your defense is balls-to-the-wall, all-out. Those are the games you’re winning because of your defense and you’ve got time of possession with the run game. And then when you throw it, they’re explosive passes.”

So the Detroit Lions are making moves and on paper, they look solid. Not sexy. But sexy does not win football games. Neither does paper.