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O'HARA: Hutchinson keeping it simple as he looks to increase his production

Aidan Hutchinson wants to increase his production over what he accomplished in his rookie season with the Detroit Lions, but that doesn't mean he wants to add to his repertoire of pass-rush moves.

Hutchinson had a solid rookie season after being drafted second overall by the Lions. He had 9.5 sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

He wants to be more proficient with the tactics he is already using.

"I'm not a big believer in doing too many different things," Hutchinson said on the first day of Lions training camp practice. "It's important to have two to three moves.

"As long as you can do that at a high level, you probably won't be blocked. The second you start trying to add this and add that, it complicates the game.

"I think it's important to keep pass rush simple."

Hutchinson's performance made him a key figure in the Lions' turnaround that projects them by many as favorites to win the NFC North.

The Lions went 8-2 in their last 10 games to finish 9-8. They had the same record as the Seahawks but missed making the playoffs on a tiebreaker – a loss to the Seahawks in the regular season.

The hype machine is running in high gear with expectations for the Lions to be a rising power in the NFC.

The hype is real, but Hutchinson has a way to deal with it.

"It's kind of hard not to see it," he said. "You see it. I think it's smart ... a lot of our guys stay off it. It can get to your head a little bit.

"We keep that underdog mentality. We haven't won anything yet. There are a lot of expectations. We still feel like the underdog."

View photos from Day 1 of Detroit Lions training camp on Sunday July 23, 2023.

Hutchinson is benefitting from have a year of experience in the NFL under his belt.

"The game has slowed down," he said. "Everything feels a lot easier, man. I feel like I have a better grasp on what I do, and my position in the scheme and system. Being out there today (in practice), it was a lot less tiring.

"You're not thinking as much. I was just rolling and having fun. It's just that experience that's so critical."

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