The NFL's general managers and head coaches kicked things off this week at the Scouting Combine with media sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both Lions GM Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell were made available Wednesday afternoon.
Here are my 10 biggest takeaways from those sessions:
1. Holmes said he has to do a better job this year securing a backup quarterback behind Jared Goff next season. He isn't ruling out free agency or the draft to acquire that talent. Holmes thought he did a poor job last offseason waiting to acquire a suitable backup until the end of training camp in Nate Sudfeld. It's something Holmes will prioritize this offseason.
2. FBI. A phrase Campbell uses, and thinks is extremely important when evaluating prospects here in Indy. It's short for football intelligence.
"Over these two to three days let's call it 30 guys 35 guys (we've met with)," Campbell said. "And I've check-marked four guys to me have the X factor. Just when you sit in there and you hear them talk about football there's a fire burning in them."
It gives you a good idea of the type of player who sticks out to Campbell.
3. There is mutual interest between the Lions and unrestricted free agent running back Jamaal Williams on a return to Detroit, according to Holmes. Those discussions have already started to take place with free agency beginning in a couple weeks (March 15).
4. Campbell and his coaches thought they had a good plan in place last training camp to keep running back D’Andre Swift healthy throughout the season, but Swift missed time with ankle and shoulder injuries and dealt with those most of the season. Campbell said they'll put another plan in place this year and hope it helps because Swift is a rare talent that can go to the house on any given play.
5. Holmes wants and needs to add pieces on defense, but he said every position is on the table when it comes to adding in free agency and the draft. Speaking of the defense exclusively, however, Holmes said the cupboard isn't as bare as people might think with five rookies logging significant minutes and the expectation they'll take a big leap in production in Year 2. Those names include Aidan Hutchinson, Josh Paschal, James Houston, Malcolm Rodriguez and Kerby Joseph.
6. There was some shakeup to Campbell's staff this offseason with the departure of Duce Staley, Todd Wash and John Morton. Scottie Montgomery has been hired to take over as running backs coach and assistant head coach. Campbell said that was a really good get for him and the staff. Montgomery is a versatile coach who's been a head coach, coordinator and assistant. He interviewed for the OC job that went to Ben Johnson last offseason. Campbell said Montgomery is an outstanding teacher who will be a great addition
7. What's the goal for free agency? Holmes said it's to not take a step back from last year's great finish and near playoff appearance finishing 9-8. He said it's imperative they continue to take a step forward.
8. According to Campbell, the Lions don't need to break the bank in free agency. He said they just need to get better at some spots and they can do that without breaking the bank on some of the top free agents at their position.
9. Asked about Levi Onwuzurike, Holmes said the third-year defensive lineman, who missed all of last season with a back injury, is progressing through his rehab, and that rehab is on track. Holmes didn't give any specifics about when we could potentially see Onwuzurike back on the field, however.
10. A reporter asked Holmes if he feels like he has three first-round picks this season with wide receiver Jameson Williams, the No. 12 overall pick last year, playing in just six games at the end of his rookie year. Williams is expected to be a big part of the offense in his second season. Holmes said it was a good way to think of the situation. The Lions also have the No. 6 and No. 18 picks in the first round.