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O'HARA: What we learned from Lions offseason training program

Jared Goff feels like he has taken part ownership the offense as the Detroit Lions' starting quarterback.

That's one of the things we've learned in the Detroit Lions' offseason, and it might be the most important development since the end of the 2021 season.

Among the other things we've learned in a panoramic look back at the Lions' offseason include the following: Rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson has passed every test since being drafted second overall; a young leader is developing on a young defense; GM Brad Holmes means business when he says the Lions are open for business; and head coach Dan Campbell thinks the Lions have taken a step forward from last year.

We start with Goff:

Ben Johnson is the boss in his first season as offensive coordinator, but Goff is at least a limited partner with influence on how things will be run – and passed.

The relationship forged between Johnson and Goff is high on the list of important things that happened in the offseason.

Goff has something any veteran quarterback would want – a voice in the offense. It also makes him accountable.

Goff and Johnson spent considerable time together building the playbook. That included looking at schemes Johnson was involved with before coming to the Lions last year as tight ends coach, and what Goff ran in his five seasons with the Los Angeles Rams.

View photos of quarterback Jared Goff from the 2022 Detroit Lions offseason training program.

"One of my top priorities, personally, is to help him have the best season of his career," Johnson said during the offseason. "One thing we've done is include him a lot in what we're trying to do schematically.

"At the end of the day, we want to do what our quarterback does well."

Goff was an accurate passer with the Rams. That showed up in his two Pro Bowl appearances. He thrived throwing play-action passes.

"We were great at that for a long time in LA," Goff said during minicamp.

Expect to see the Lions use that more in 2022. That is only part of what Goff likes about his new coach-QB relationship

"The part that was most exciting to me was the influence he was allowing me to have," Goff said. "It was exciting for me, being in Year Seven, I feel like I've earned having that voice a little bit.

"And he's giving it to me."

Open for business: Holmes has said frequently since coming to the Lions in 2021 that he wants to be aggressive.

He proved that against in this year's draft. The Lions caught a break when the Jaguars drafted Travon Walker first overall. That left Hutchinson on the board for the Lions to take him with the second overall pick.

Holmes did not spend the rest of the night celebrating. He'd already signed free agent DJ Chark to add a speed receiver with one Pro Bowl on his resume to the offense.

There was a big prize out there, and Holmes went after it – trading with NFC North rival Minnesota to get the 12th pick in the draft. Holmes used it to draft wide receiver Jameson Williams of Alabama.

Williams is recovering from a knee injury that will not be healed in time for the start of training camp in late July. When he gets back, he'll add another speed receiver to an offense with explosive potential.

The play-action game will be even better.

Hutchinson: Nothing happened in the offseason workouts to make the Lions reconsider their feeling on draft day when they selected Hutchinson.

"Everything we thought we were getting shows up," defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said. "Not just in practice, but in the meeting room also. What else shows up is the little bitty things."

The big things also show up, which isn't a surprise considering Hutchinson is a 6-foot-7 pass rusher.

"He has quickness that's unbelievable," Glenn said. "He has the ability to spin, turn and work his hands. It's outstanding. He's always working. That's the attitude he had at Michigan that made him so successful.

"No doubt, he's going to be a really, really good player for us."

View photos of nose tackle Alim McNeill from the 2022 Detroit Lions offseason training program.

Mac: Not every player, young or old, can handle being thrust into a leadership position.

Alim McNeill, a second-year defensive lineman who turned 22 in May, is suited for the role. McNeill said he was "honored" to hear that Campbell referred to him as one of the leaders of a young core of defensive linemen.

McNeill is only 90 days older than Hutchinson.

Coach's view: Campbell's answer was matter of fact when asked near the end of the offseason workouts how he feels about his team.

"I do feel good with where we're at for what we're doing," he said. "Because I do feel like we're a step ahead from where we were this time last year."

Straight talk, no promises and proclamations.

I'd say they're more than a step ahead.

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