What will success look like for the 2021 Detroit Lions

It is nearly here again. The 2021-22 NFL football season which started this past Thursday. For the rebuilding Detroit Lions and a roster that is in transition this will be a difficult season for wins to be found. Losses will be aplenty. That is alright, this will hardly be a throwaway season. The Lions have plenty to play for and that is what the focus should be on. So for this season and most likely next forget about wins and losses. Here is what the team needs to focus on.

ALLEN PARK, MI – AUGUST 10: Detroit Lions Jalen Elliott safety (42), Detroit Lions Alex Brown cornerback (27), and Detroit Lions safety Booby Price (47) wait their turn to run drills during Detroit Lions Training Camp on August 10, 2021 at Lions Practice Facility in Allen Park, MI (Photo by Allan Dranberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The first focal point for the Detroit Lions should be the development of this years draft class. A class that was widely praised as one of the best in the NFL. Lions General Manager, Brad Holmes, really made a mark with the solid draft class.

Many of the Lions draftees showed themselves very well during preseason games. Many people would argue it was just preseason. But young players are made or broken in preseason games.

Next the Lions need to focus on compete level. While the team will loses more than they win, they need to compete in games. By compete I mean fight and keep fighting until the final tick of the clock. Do not give in, do not give up.

The final focus for the 2021 Detroit Lions is to show improvement in December. Why December? Well the season will be nearing the end. It is also enough time for young players to establish themselves in terms of growth. There still will not be many wins, but more importantly young players stepping up into a more defined role and gaining more playing time is much more critical that wins.

LANDOVER, MD – NOVEMBER 24: A Detroit Lions helmet rests on the field before the game between the Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions at FedExField on November 24, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Sure there are other things that the Detroit Lions can and perhaps should focus on. In my opinion development, compete level and improvement late in the season are the most pressing focal points that can lead to a bright future.

Detroit Red Wings Dennis Cholowski showing improvement

Embed from Getty Images When his reckless handling of the puck resulted in being pulled from the lineup last season. Detroit Red Wings defensive player Dennis Cholowski was sent to Grand Rapids to work on his game with the Griffins. Cholowski made the 2019-20 Red Wings roster as so far, he has demonstrated better decision-making and earned the trust of coaches and teammates to remain in the  lineup.

“He’s done a really good job of managing his game and a really good job of not giving up easy chances,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s the area where his growth has been the best, is understanding when to try to make a play, understanding when to back off. Understanding when to punt sometimes you just have to put it to a safe area, and I think he’s done a good job of that. He’s been harder in his defense, both in zone and on the rush.”

The Detroit Red Wings drafted Cholowski at 20th overall in 2016. His skating and offensive abilities were a large part of the appeal to the Red Wings. “I’m more calm, more relaxed,” Cholowski told Detroit media. “Better in the D-zone, winning more of my battles now. They know they can rely on me in more situations now. I have it in my head to relax and not be too frantic.”

Dennis Cholowski now has a coveted spot on the team’s first power play unit,  with Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Taro Hirose. Cholowski said he just wants to contribute however he can to make the team and the power-play unit better.

Viewed as a player who can help the Detroit blueline, Cholowski is now beginning to live to live up to his scouting report. He is a fast, smooth skating defensive player. Dennis is a strong two-way defender, while offensively he moves the puck very well, with a strong first pass out of the zone to get the transition game started.

Dennis Cholowski is a very smart defender. This season Cholowski seems to always be in the right position. Keeping attackers to the outside, while keeping himself between the puck and the net at all times. Cholowski maintains good gap control as well.

This is good for a Red Wings team struggling with older defensive players.