Skip to main content

TWENTYMAN: 5 reasons to look forward to 2024 season

Watching the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl Sunday was probably tough for some Lions fans given the fact that Detroit was 30 minutes away from representing the NFC in that contest had they not had their worst half of football in the second half of the NFC Championship Game.

But with the 2023 season now in the books, Lions fans can turn their full attention to 2024, which has a chance to be a special season in Detroit - one that hopefully ends with them playing in the last football game of the year in New Orleans.

There's a lot to look forward to in Detroit. Here are five reasons why the Lions can be right back in the NFC Championship Game next season and hopefully one game after:

1. Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell

Acquiring talent and developing talent. That's the foundation of any consistently good organization building their roster the right way. Both Holmes and Campbell have proven proficient in those areas.

Just look at some of the young talent Holmes has brought in via the NFL Draft the last three cycles that have become the core of this football team: Penei Sewell, Alim McNeill, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Aidan Hutchinson, Kerby Joseph, Jameson Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta, Brian Branch.

Holmes bringing in linebacker Alex Anzalone, running back David Montgomery, guard Graham Glasgow and defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson were savvy moves in free agency.

Holmes has hit a lot more than he's missed over the last three offseasons and that has to make Lions fans excited about what he'll add to the roster over the next three months.

Campbell has completely changed the culture in Detroit and is a perfect fit for this city and this team. These players will run through a brick wall for him and that shouldn't be taken lightly. He's put together a terrific staff that's proven they can develop young players. 

The GM-HC relationship is the most important in the organization and Holmes and Campbell are in lockstep about what they want this team to be, and what they need to get there.

2. Quarterback Jared Goff

You can't win consistently in this league if the quarterback position isn't playing well. That's one thing Detroit doesn't have to worry about heading into 2024.

Goff was top four in the NFL this season in passing yards and touchdown passes and top 10 in passer rating. He completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 4,575 yards with 30 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 97.9 passer rating.

He was second to only Brock Purdy (72) in 20-plus-yard completions (69) and second to only Baker Mayfield (14) in 20-plus-yard touchdown passes (12). He is poised, resilient and extremely accurate, three characteristics that make him a perfect fit in Ben Johnson's offensive scheme.

Goff, 29, is coming off arguably his best season as a professional, and with Johnson back as OC in 2024, there's no reason to think he won't continue to build on his 2023 success.

3. Coaching staff continuity

It's rare a team makes a run to the NFC Championship Game and doesn't lose any major components to their coaching staff. The other 31 teams' loss is the Lions' gain.

Detroit will return all three coordinators next season and that kind of coaching continuity is invaluable.

Johnson is tied for the longest tenured offensive coordinator in the league and Aaron Glenn is tied for the third longest defensive coordinator.

Johnson has proven to be one of the top young offensive minds in football as Detroit ranked in the top five in the NFL in total offense, scoring, rushing and passing. That's production. Johnson's return means Goff gets to come in and pick up where he left off last season. No new scheme or play-call language to learn. It's just going to be about tweaking and developing what's already one of the best units in football.

Glenn is one of the most respected men in the building and has proven he can develop talent on defense. The Lions had the No. 2 run defense in the NFL last season and went from 32nd to 19th in total defense from 2022 to 2023. Where can they go with more talent added to that side of the ball this offseason?

Dave Fipp is one of the best special teams coordinators in the NFL as Detroit's teams have been among the league's best since he arrived in 2021.

The continuity with the coaching staff and the schemes will allow the Lions to hit the ground running when the players return for the offseason training program. That gives Detroit a leg up on a lot of teams heading into next season.

View the best photos of the 2023 season as chosen by Detroit Lions team photographer Jeff Nguyen.

4. Rookie development

They say players usually take their biggest leap in development from their first to second NFL seasons.

If that's the case for Detroit's 2023 rookie class, what might be in store for players like running back Jahmyr Gibbs, linebacker Jack Campbell, tight end Sam LaPorta, cornerback Brian Branch and the rest of Holmes' most recent class?

Gibbs (11) and LaPorta (10) are the NFL's first set of rookie teammates to each produce 10 touchdowns in a season. The Lions are the first team since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger to produce a combined 10 rushing touchdowns and 10 receiving touchdowns from a rookie class.

Branch also found his way into the end zone with a pick-six Week 1 in Kansas City. He played well beyond his years in the nickel role, notching 74 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three interceptions and 13 passes defended. He's already one of the better slot corners in the league.

Campbell progressed steadily throughout his rookie season finishing with 95 tackles and five tackles for loss. He's a cerebral player who is expected to take a big step forward next season.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker, defensive lineman Brodric Martin, guard Colby Sorsdal and wide receiver Antoine Green will also be looking for increased roles in their second seasons after getting their feet wet as rookies.

It's a class Holmes should be really proud of and one that could push the Lions over the edge if they take the next step in their development in 2024.

5. Superstar talent

It's hard to win at the highest levels without superstar talent. Take San Francisco and Kansas City for example. The 49ers had nine players named to the Pro Bowl and the Chiefs had five. Look across those rosters and it's easy to see they have the best quarterback, left tackle, tight end, linebacker, edge rusher and defensive tackle in football with a couple top-line defensive backs among the group too. Star talent.

Detroit had five Pro Bowlers of their own with five players in particular either reaching or close to reaching superstardom.

Frank Ragnow is already the best center in football. Sewell is the top right tackle. St. Brown was named All-Pro for the first time in his career and he's right there in the conversation among the top five receivers in the game today. Hutchinson led the NFL in quarterback hits and finished second in total pressures to go along with 11.5 sacks. He's already one of the best pass rushers in the game and his ceiling is so much higher. LaPorta is already in the conversation for the top five tight ends in the game after the rookie season he had.

Having star power to go along with depth, coaching and everything else is key to sustaining the kind of success the Lions enjoyed in 2023 and expect to enjoy in 2024 and beyond.

Related Content