COLUMN: Taking another look at the Lions

Published 2:10 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2021

I do not know what kind of coach Dan Campbell is going to be for the Detroit Lions. Heck, I am even more unsure after reading plenty about the new hire the past couple of weeks.

But I may have been a bit too hasty in saying that this is the same old Lions under the Ford family’s direction. It is, in fact, nothing like previous hires. I am beginning to get the feeling that things are turning a corner in Detroit.

The reason I say that is because not only are Campbell and new General Manager Brad Holmes putting together a pretty good coaching staff, but the Lions pulled the trigger quickly on trading veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford. I will get to the trade in a minute.

Let us first look at the coaches that are being brought to Detroit. I am not necessarily a fan of recycling the “good old boys club,” but in this instance, I am glad the Lions are going after coaches who have been successful in the past at several levels. I expect that there will be some fresh faces on the staff at some point.

The offensive and defensive coordinators — Anthony Lynn and Aaron Glenn — immediately caught my attention. When the Lions added Mark Brunell and Duce Staley’s likes to coach the quarterbacks and running backs, I was even more impressed.

I love the hiring of Lynn, who has National Football League head coaching experience. Since Campbell’s resume as a head coach only has 15 games on it, Lynn can help with situations that the Lions’ new head coach may not be as familiar with. I also love the hiring of Dom Capers as a senior defensive assistant. Capers also has head coaching experience, as well as being a good defensive mind. He will be able to help Glenn, who was a cornerback for Houston when Capers was the head coach there.

Glenn comes to Detroit from a very successful New Orleans’ team where he coached cornerbacks for the Saints. He helped mold the New Orleans secondary into one of the better units in the NFL. Having also played more than 200 games in the league, he has probably seen it all and is ready to take that next step up to coordinator.

While all of that is nice, the biggest reason I am reconsidering my stance on the Lions is the fact that they went out and made a great trade for Stafford. Landing Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff not only gives Detroit a proven talent, but a player that can either be the bridge to the next franchise quarterback or your signal-caller for the next five or six years.

It always seems like the Lions end up on the wrong end of a trade. But the Goff trade is a solid one, which could be a great one depending on what Holmes does with the picks Detroit received, and more importantly, what they do in this year’s draft. Having Holmes as the GM probably was as important to the deal as was Stafford himself.

Now, if I am the Lions general manager, I am trading down from the No. 7 spot unless for some inexplicable reason, Alabama’s DeVonta Smith slides down that far. Even then, I wonder if you do not trade down for a handful of picks, mainly in this year’s draft, and start filling the other needs on your team.

You can always pick up a quarterback in the second or third round. Sometimes quarterbacks tumble down the draft and fall into your lap. Or, you can take a quarterback that would need a few years to develop. Either way, it would be a win-win for the Lions.

I ended my previous column about the Lions by saying I would love to eat my words. I also said that in 10 months I would be reminding you when Detroit was nowhere near the top of the NFC Central standings — that I told you so.

Judging the upcoming season based on the information I have right now, I better get some salt and pepper ready.


Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at