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TWENTYMAN: Breaking down Lions' most impactful offseason moves

The Detroit Lions have begun the third phase of the offseason training program this week in which they can conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or "OTAs" and a three-day mandatory minicamp (June 4-6) over the next month. This is the part of the offseason training program that ramps up activity and gets everyone ready for the start of training camp.

Detroit had one heck of an offseason leading up this point and have positioned themselves as one of the favorites to make noise in the NFC in 2024. So, while the on-field football ramps up with OTAs and minicamp, let's take a quick look at the most impactful moves this offseason that have set them up for what they hope is a successful 2024 campaign.


Ben Johnson interviewed for head coach openings in Washington, Atlanta, Carolina, Seattle and Los Angeles (Chargers) but opted to return to Detroit for a third season as the team's offensive coordinator. He was a finalist for AP Assistant Coach of the Year this past season after Detroit was second in the NFL in passing, third in total offense and fifth in both rushing and points per game.

Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn interviewed with Washington, Tennessee, Atlanta and Los Angeles but didn't land any of those positions, so he's back leading a Detroit defense that was No. 2 in the NFL against the run, sixth in total quarterback pressures and looks to be vastly improved in the secondary on paper heading into 2024.

Also back is special teams coordinator Dave Fipp, who has led one of the best and most aggressive (8-of-10 on fake punts in Fipp's tenure in Detroit) special teams units in the league.

It's rare for a team to have the kind of continuity at the coordinator position the Lions have enjoyed the last few seasons. It allows them to hit the ground running in OTAs and training camp and start at a much more advanced position than teams breaking in new coaches and schemes.

"For example, Ben knows exactly what I'm thinking," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said back in February. "We're to the point now where he knows exactly what I want, how I think, just like I know how he thinks, and AG and (Dave) Fipp. So, there's so many things that you can skip over, these steps that have already been done, and you're just so much more efficient, so much better.

"And it happens with the players, too. They know what we expect, so now you're out of 101 and into 401. That's the beauty of the continuity of the staff."

View photos from Day 1 of Detroit Lions OTA practice on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 in Allen Park, Mich.


Right tackle Penei Sewell, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and quarterback Jared Goff have become core players on a roster poised to compete for a Super Bowl. The trio are team leaders and embody everything the franchise wants to be about on and off the field. Detroit re-signed all three to lengthy contract extensions this offseason that will keep them in Detroit for the foreseeable future.

All three arrived in Detroit in different circumstances. Goff was traded to Detroit from the Los Angeles Rams for Matthew Stafford and draft picks. Sewell was Brad Holmes' first draft pick No. 7 overall after taking over as general manager in Detroit in 2021. St. Brown had to wait a little longer to hear his name called in the fourth round of the 2021 draft after 16 receivers went before him.

These extensions show every player in the locker room that if they put their head down, go to work and perform, they will be rewarded.


As good as Detroit was defensively against the run last season (only allowed 100-or-more rushing yards in five games), the Lions struggled at times defending the pass, especially down the stretch and in the playoffs. Detroit finished last season 27th against the pass (247.4 yards per game allowed) and gave up the most 20-plus-yard completions in the league (69).

Both Holmes and Campbell knew the secondary, especially the cornerback position, needed to be revamped this offseason.

Detroit returns one of the best young nickel cornerbacks in the NFL in Brian Branch. To give him more help Detroit traded for veteran cornerback Carlton Davis III and signed versatile veteran cornerback Amik Robertson in free agency. They re-signed veterans Emmanuel Moseley, who missed all but two snaps last year with a torn ACL, and Kindle Vildor. Moseley started 33 games for the 49ers from 2019-22, and Vildor has 24 NFL starts to his credit.

Then came the additions of Terrion Arnold (No. 24 overall) and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. (No. 61) with Detroit's first two picks in the draft. They were the Lions' top two graded cornerbacks in this year's draft.

On paper, Detroit has significantly upgraded the cornerback position and that should improve the marriage between the cover and the pass rush. It will be fun this week to get a look at what's expected to be one of the best position battles on the entire roster come training camp. Detroit hasn't had this kind of depth at the position in the Holmes and Campbell era.


Under the direction of Holmes and Campbell the Lions won their first division title since 1993 last season after tying the franchise record for wins in a regular season (12). The duo has drafted, signed and a developed a roster that featured five AP All-Pro players and seven Pro Bowlers in 2023.

"We are thrilled to have Brad and Dan under contract for the next four seasons," Detroit Lions principal owner Sheila Hamp said in a statement after the extensions were announced this offseason. "They have been the driving force behind the rebuild of our football team and the success that we have enjoyed. The continuity they provide for our football program will continue to be the key to our future success on the field."

Holmes and Campbell's contracts are now aligned in years left as both extend through the 2027 season. Holmes and Campbell form a terrific leadership team with the same vision for how they want to build the franchise and play the game. Both men have said in the past the most important relationship in a consistently good franchise is the one between the general manager and head coach.

Holmes has shown a terrific eye for talent and Campbell the ability to develop that talent.


Anyone who was at Ford Field for the two playoff wins over Los Angeles and Tampa Bay knows just how much of an advantage that building can be when it's packed and amped up.

For the second consecutive year, the Lions announced they've sold all of their season ticket packages for home games at Ford Field.

"Our Lions Loyal Members are the heartbeat of our fanbase and the true foundation of our incredible home-field advantage," Detroit Lions COO Mike Disner said in a statement. "We are proud to have reached a sellout of memberships and want to encourage interested fans to join the waitlist for the best opportunity to attend our games at Ford Field in 2025 and beyond."

The franchise has put together a product the fans want to see. That means Ford Field will continue to be one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL.

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