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TWENTYMAN: What to expect from Lions' offense as regular season nears

The Detroit Lions' offense has a chance to be versatile and explosive, featuring one of the best offensive lines in football and plenty of skill-position weapons that could force opposing defenses into some tough decisions when it comes to how they want to attack.

Making it all come together behind the scenes over the last six months is first-year offensive coordinator Ben Johnson.

He and veteran quarterback Jared Goff tailored this scheme around things Goff does well, but Johnson also wanted to make sure his scheme was multiple.

"We talk offensively about being multiple, being able to attack in a lot of different ways and our groups really embrace that," Johnson said Friday. "I'm excited about the fact that our group has been very dialed in mentally, they've been focused, they've been professional, they've been able to take adjustments that we throw on them at the last minute and apply them and make it work."

Johnson said the nice thing about inheriting a mostly veteran group on offense is he can push the envelope a bit with them. Conceptually, Johnson thinks the sky is the limit on offense. It starts upfront with a veteran offensive line.

"What schemes do we lean on when it's really time to get to the gritty of it?" Johnson said. "And so, the beauty about our offensive line, they are smart, they've been around, they've played for a while now, and so we're able to do a lot of different things with them.

"And they're able to adjust on the fly really quickly as well. So, from a run game perspective we'll be able to be multiple, and then in pass protection, hopefully we'll be able to get more receivers out on routes and not have to stick in the seven-man protection world."

Having third-year running back D’Andre Swift healthy to start the regular season will also be big for this offense. It's Johnson's job to scheme ways to get Swift the football. Swift said last week in Indianapolis while the team was there for joint practices that his goal is to rush for 1,000 yards and have 1,000 receiving yards. It's a lofty goal considering it's been done only three times before in NFL history.

"How many different ways can we get him the ball?," Johnson said of Swift. "So, we'll always explore that, and then there'll be times too we'll use him as a little bit of eye candy and get the other guys the ball.

"But I mean, he's going to open up the rest of the weapons on this offense because we know anytime he gets the ball in his hands he can make a good play great and score touchdowns."

Veteran wide receiver DJ Chark and the explosiveness he's brought to the receiver corps is also something Johnson says allows them to be more multiple and attack teams a little differently than they did a year ago. Chark's vertical speed and the ability to separate at the top of his routes is something defenses have to take notice of.

Then there's slot receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson in the middle. It sure seems like Johnson's offense will be able to attack teams in a lot of different ways.

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Friday, August 26, 2022.

Goff is the one responsible for making it all go, and Johnson loves where he's at entering regular-season prep next week.

"I think he's had a great camp," Johnson said. "He's displaying a lot of confidence within this system right now and once again, we're trying to tailor it to what he does best. And I think that's going to come to light once we start kicking off and getting into the regular season here."

The offense has looked good all through camp. They should be able to attack teams in a lot of different ways both on the ground and through the air during the regular season.

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