The Detroit Lions ranked seventh in scoring offense last season and sixth in passing despite there being no real threat of a run game to opponents.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford ranked third in passing yards (4,446) and fourth in touchdowns (29). He threw to a pair of 1,000-yard receiving teammates in Marvin Jones Jr. and Golden Tate.
With Stafford, Jones, Tate, receiver Kenny Golladay, tight end Eric Ebron and running back Theo Riddick all under contract next season, Jones thinks Detroit’s passing attack can be something really special.
"I’m definitely excited. Just because we have all the ability to be the best in the league," Jones said from radio row at the Super Bowl last week. "We have all the tools.”
Lions general manager Bob Quinn made it very clear after the season that he intends to add to the running back room this offseason in hopes of making that a more consistent weapon moving forward. If Detroit’s run game can at the very least become respectable, the passing game could be even better next season.
Ebron was among the NFL leaders at tight end in both catches and yards the second half of last season. Riddick remains one of the best receiving threats in the NFL out of backfield. Golladay showed tremendous promise as a rookie, despite missing five games, and Jones and Tate are proven playmakers.
Getting that running back spot figured out and maintaining better health upfront along the offensive line – the Lions started 10 different offensive line combinations in 2017 – are the two areas of concern on that side of the ball this offseason.
“It’s going to be good for a while,” Jones said of Detroit’s passing attack. “We just have to get better and better every day. We need to be balanced. We need to get some yards on the ground. And we’ll keep doing what we’re doing.”
Jones, who is still in rest mode after a long season, says he'll ramp up his workout program a little sooner this year because the Lions will start their offseason training program two weeks earlier due to a new coaching staff.
Speaking of that new staff, Jones seems to have a pretty confident attitude about new head coach Matt Patricia and some of his staff coming in.
"It is my first time dealing with a coaching change ever, but I’m a vet," Jones said. "I’ve been around, so yeah, it’s something that you have to take just because this is the NFL and the organization is doing what they feel they need to do for the good of our team, the good of the organization.
“Me, I work. I work hard, so it doesn’t matter who’s out there. I’m going to come to the stadium, I’m going to come to the facility ready to work."