Detroit Lions 2023-24 Season Preview

The 2023-24 season is set to get underway for Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions. They are poised for a breakthrough season after missing the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season when they made it in 2017 with former quarterback Matthew Stafford. Let’s see if now quarterback Jared Goff can lead them back to playing January football.

Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports

2022-2023 Results

The Detroit Lions came into last season with expectations of competing within the division with some playoff hopes on the horizon. They started the first half of the season with a record of one and six, losing four of those games by one score. They went on to trade TJ Hockenson to their division rival, the Minnesota Vikings, and went on to win eight of their next ten games to finish the year nine and eight, missing the playoffs because the Seattle Seahawks beat the LA Rams. Seattle owns the tiebreaker against the Lions because they won 48-45 in a week four matchup that would prove costly.

They did have some positives to take away from this season though, including quarterback Jared Goff throwing for 4,438 yards, the most he has thrown for since doing it in 2018 and in 2019, when he threw for 4,688 and 4,638 in consecutive years with the Rams. This could be considered as his best season when looking at the numbers, especially factoring in his tied his season best with seven interceptions, with playing one more game because of the NFL extending the season to 17 games played. The defense also stepped up in a big way last year, something Lions fans are not accustomed to. Aiden Hutchinson showed some real promise near the back end of the season while Brandon Joseph and others held down the secondary. The total year doesn’t show how much the Lions really performed on the defensive end because they let up almost 40 points per game to begin the first half of the season. Can the Detroit Lions 2023-24 season prove to be a stepping stone in the right direction. Well let’s see if these players can help.

Key Additions

RB David Montgomery

Coming from the Chicago Bears previously, Montgomery replaces Jamaal Williams in the backfield with the Lions also departing with workhorse D’Andre Swift after trading him to Philadelphia for a 2025 fourth round pick and 2023 seventh round pick swap. Montgomery is the favorite to lead the Lions next season in the backfield. He excels in short yardage situations and can catch in the backfield as well, having 300 yards in the passing game with the Chicago Bears last year and 800 on the ground. He was one of the top options on the market for running backs.

Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Coming off a super bowl run with the Eagles, Johnson joins a Lions team that let up a lot of yards through the air last season, so he will immediately be a starter and a impact player from day one based on his skillset. He has relations to coach Dan Campbell with his time as a New Orleans Saint. Now defensive coordination Aaron Glenn was also on the staff in New Orleans. Johnson allowed one yards per coverage snap last year and is versatile in playing cornerback or safety.

Update: He was carted off field Monday with a right leg injury.

Cornerback Cameron Sutton

Another great addition for the secondary, the Lions did add Cameron Sutton from Pittsburgh to improve the passing game defense. Sutton totaled three interceptions and 15 pass breakups last year with the Steelers. He is regarded as a lockdown cornerback to some, great addition for Detroit.

Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley

Another aggressive free agency signing by the Detroit Lions, in which the added a third cornerback. Coming off a torn ACL with the San Francisco 49ers, Moseley racked up one interception, 22 tackles, and five passes defended in 2022. The risk is the longevity, as Moseley has only played over 12 games once in his career. It is a risk it pick on all accounts.

Running Back Jahmyr Gibbs

With their 12th overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected Jahmyr Gibbs out of Alabama, which came as a shock to a lot of people given that Jordan Addison, Quentin Jackson, and many secondary options were available. Instead, they selected Gibbs who ran for nearly 1000 yards and tallied 1370 yards from scrimmage. He also chipped in 400 through the air for the Crimson Tide. He is getting a lot of comparisons to Marshall Faulk and Christian McCaffrey. It was a surprising pick though given the state of the running back position, to spend a first round pick on him.

Linebacker Jack Campbell

The All-American linebacker from Iowa is a key addition to the Detroit Lions core as they selected him 18th overall in the 2023 Draft. He had 59 solo tackles, 66 assisted tackles to go along with a sack and two interceptions in his last year at Iowa. This is a big hit for the Lions because they don’t have a known heavy hitter like a Bobby Wagner staring opponents in the eye down the middle of the field.

Projected Depth Chart

Detroit Lions 2023-24 Season Projected Depth Chart

QB: Jared Goff, Nate Sudfeld, Hendon Hooker, Adrian Martinez.

RB: David Montgomery, Jahmyr Gibbs, Craig Reynolds, Justin Jackson.

FB: Jason Cabinda

WR: Amon Ra St. Brown, Marvin Jones Jr, Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, Denzel Mims, Antoine Green, Tom Kennedy, Trinity Benson, Maurice Alexander, Chase Cota, Dylan Drummond.

TE: Sam LaPorta, Brock Wright, James Mitchell, Shane Zylstra, Derrick Deese Jr.

LT: Taylor Decker, Germain Ifedi, Obinna Eze, Connor Galvin.

LG: Jonah Jackson, Logan Stenberg, Ross Pierschbacher, Darrin Paulo.

C: Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow, Brad Cecil.

RG: Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Colby Sorsdal, Kayode Awosika.

RT: Penei Sewell, Matt Nelson, Ryan Swobada, Max Pircher.

DE: John Cominsky, Josh Paschal, Zach Morton.

DT: Alim McNeill, Christian Covington, Levi Onwuzurike, Chris Smith.

EDGE: Aidan Hutchinson, Charles Harris, Romeo Okwara.

LB: Alex Anzalone, Jack Campbell, James Houston, Malcolm Rodriguez, Derrick Barnes, Julian Okwara, Jaylen Maybin-Reeves, Anthony Pittman, Trevor Nowaske.

CB: Emmanuel Moseley, Cameron Sutton, Jerry Jacobs, Will Harris, Starling Thomas V, Jarren Williams, Steven Gilmore.

S: C.J. Gardner Johnson, Tracy Walker III, Kerby Joseph, Brian Branch, Ifeatu Melifonwu, Saivion Smith, Chase Lucas, Brandon Joseph, Brady Breese, Khalil Dorsey.

K: Riley Patterson, Parker Romo.

P: Jack Fox

PR/KR: Kalif Raymond

Season Outlook

Can the Detroit Lions 2023-24 season prove to be the motor city’s best since 1991?

Looking at it from a distance, the NFC North got worse. Aaron Rodgers left for New York in a trade, Dalvin Cook got released, Adam, Theilan is in Carolina and some other moves. The Bears did get better though, but we will get into that in my next article.

With the loss of DJ Chark and Jameson Williams being suspended for gambling a majority of the season, the Lions biggest hole for me is the wide receiver position. Marvin Jones will have to come back to the old Marvin Jones Lions fans saw. Amon St Brown will be the star in the passing game, but he will have games he does not have it. On the defensive side of the ball, if they secondary is even close to last year, it will be another seven to nine win year, running the risk of missing the playoffs. So, for the Lions to be competitive the secondary will just need to be better than last year, as they basically upgraded everywhere else and retained their defensive core. I believe the Lions finish the year 10-7 with a playoff berth via the wild card.

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