The Detroit Lions offense is in a transition phase.
Not only is offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter getting an opportunity to fully implement his scheme entering his full first season, but for the first time in his career, quarterback Matthew Stafford won't have Calvin Johnson to throw the ball to.
Stafford and Johnson had tremendous chemistry built over seven offseasons together, more than a half dozen training camps and 92 career games.
The Lions made signing Marvin Jones a priority in free agency to help alleviate the loss of Johnson. Jones said at last week's Taste of the Lions event that he's been spending time off the field with his new teammates to help build chemistry. On the field, he's been working hard with his new quarterback, which will allow this offense to hit the ground running during OTAs and into training camp.
"It's going great," Jones said. "We've had a little over a month to get some camaraderie between the quarterbacks and the wide receivers, and everything has been good. We've been going hard and it all shows what we're doing this offseason to prepare."
It's expected the chemistry between Stafford and some of his new weapons, like Jones, will increase significantly over the next month now that they're allowed to compete against the defense.
The final four weeks of the offseason program starts today with the beginning of OTA practices. Teams are allowed to conduct a total of 10 days of OTA practices. Before this week, Stafford and the receivers were just running routes vs. air, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted during OTAs.
"We haven't even practiced yet," Jones reminded the group of reporters around him. "We've been throwing routes on air and stuff like that, but obviously it'll pick up when we start getting defenses on us and stuff like that.
"It'll take some time, but it's going great right now."