The Matt Patricia era in the Detroit Lions was a complete failure from start to finish. The team never came close to playing in the postseason, winning only 13 games under the former head coach. They are now entering a complete rebuild once again, now without Matthew Stafford, their franchise quarterback over the last decade.
The Lions will gear up their preparations for the 2021 season on July 31st at the Allen Park Training Facility in Michigan. They'll hold nine open practices for their fans. As the team prepares for a completely new era, fans will be excited to see what the future brings.
Detroit Lions off-season news roundup leading up to training camp
With Matt Patricia gone and a weak roster, the main change in the off-season was Matthew Stafford requesting a trade from the franchise to compete for a championship. His request was granted, and the Lions sent him to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff and two first-round picks.
But the roster was not the only part of the organization that went through a major overhaul. Dan Campbell was hired as the new head coach after five years with the New Orleans Saints, and all the coordinators were changed as well. Clearly, the Lions wanted no part of Patricia after three disappointing years.
As the rebuild went on, the Lions let go a lot of players who would go on to receive big money in free agency, such as Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Jamal Agnew. The only big move they made in the market was retaining Romeo Okwara on a three-year, $39-million contract.
Improving line play was also the main focus in the draft. The Lions were lucky when Penei Sewell fell to them on the 7th pick, as his talent made him one of the top three players in this class. Their next two picks were used on defensive tackles to beef up the run defense. Dan Campbell acts like an old-school coach, so it wasn't surprising to see the Lions building their trenches to start their rebuild.
The Lions knew they wouldn't be competing for anything big this year, so the focus in the off-season was to find high upside players. Moreover, they'll get to see Jared Goff start for a full year. And with their first-round picks available for the next two years, if they decide he's not good enough to lead them, they could easily move up in the Draft for a new franchise quarterback.
Training Camp predictions and who to watch
There's not going to be a ton of competition for the Lions' starting spots as the roster is not deep enough, but there's still a lot of interesting things to see.
First of all, how will Jared Goff portray himself at a new team? He's a former Super Bowl starter quarterback, but clearly, he didn't have the full confidence of his former coach Sean McVay. Will Goff be able to prove wrong one of the NFL's most famous coaches?
The wide receiver position needs to see someone step up. With Golladay and Jones gone, the no. 1 receiver spot is wide open. Breshad Perriman is the favorite, but look out for rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown taking the Z receiver spot after a great stint at USC.
Secondary is one of the roster's deepest units. Jeffrey Okudah had a below-average rookie season, but with Patricia gone and a defensive overhaul in place, the former is set to play much better in 2021. Quinton Dunbar is locked in as the no. 2 cornerback after a great year in Seattle. Young cornerbacks Amani Oruwariye and Ifeatu Melifonwu will also compete for snaps at cornerback.
Special teams will also see a battle for the kicking job, as the Detroit Lions' longtime kicker Matt Prater moved to Arizona to play with the Cardinals. Veteran Randy Bullock and third-year Matthew Wright will likely battle out for the roster spot.