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Detroit Lions June Scouting Report
James Hintz

Things are slow this time of year but we do have a look at the Lions 2022 schedule, plus some news and notes as the Lions have been working through their offseason program.

QB: Which version of QB Jared Goff will we see in 2022? One of the things people will be watching is who calls the plays? Last year Goff played poorly early in the year, but was improved down the stretch after HC Dan Campbell took over the play calling. Campbell could continue with that or the duties could go to new OC Ben Johnson. We do not have a definitive answer as we head into summer break. Either way, it sounds like Johnson and Goff worked together in the offseason to build the offense around the things Goff does well and the things that led Goff to success in his early years with the Rams. It's hard to see him making a huge jump in the fantasy rankings this season when you consider his lack of success throwing deep but the offense as a whole should be better than it was last year. Apparently the backup job is going to be an honest competition between QB Tim Boyle and QB David Blough. Boyle would figure to have the edge after filling in for Goff at times last year, but who knows? Neither would be a fantasy factor if called upon.

RB: We have a familiar storyline at running back going into 2022 - can RB D'Andre Swift stay healthy? The reports from the minicamps and OTAs said Swift looked a little bulkier and muscular. The coaching staff might even push him to stay on the field and play through pain when possible. Last year Swift was catching a ton of passes early in the season, so we know he has big PPR potential when healthy, although the Lions have improved their receiver depth so they might not need to throw to Swift as much. RB Jamaal Williams remains steady as a complement to Swift. After that there will be competition for one or two more roster spots and we will follow that in the preseason. The Lions look to have a very good offensive line and that line should pave the way for success on the ground, even if the third or fourth stringer is forced into action.

WR/TE: Judging by the comments from the Lions, it looks like rookie WR Jameson Williams starting the season on the PUP list is a real possibility while he recovers from his ACL injury. I just learned that the PUP rules were modified this year, so players now only need to miss 4 games instead of 6 if they remain on the PUP list going into the regular season. With the Lions having an early week 6 bye, perhaps the Lions will keep Williams on PUP with an eye on activating him shortly after that bye, so he could still play around 10 games or so. I think the Lions are still a year away from truly contending, so they don't need to push things with Williams. WR DJ Chark reportedly looked good so far, as he could make an impact. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown should be a slot machine again. TE TJ Hockenson always seems like he could do more, as he hasn't been able to break into the top tier of tight ends. Nothing new yet on a possible contract extension. One last bit of news as the Lions signed TE Devin Funchess. Yeah that's right, they are going to try him as a tight end. This is likely just a bottom of the roster signing and had they signed some unknown rookie it wouldn't have generated any headlines. Funchess is a somewhat well known name but he hasn't played a game since week 1 of 2019. He got hurt and went on IR, then he opted out in 2020, and wasn't on an active roster in 2021.

K/DST: The Lions had three kickers on their roster until recently when they released PK Aldrick Rosas. That means we'll have a training camp battle between PK Riley Patterson and PK Austin Seibert. Lots of positivity so far regarding rookie DE Aidan Hutchinson. The Lions are talking about going to more of an attacking scheme. Regardless of scheme, the pass rush must be better, and Hutchinson, who doesn't lack confidence, will be a key in that area. There are some concerns about the linebackers. The secondary has some moving parts and a huge x factor in CB Jeff Okudah, who returns from last year's Achilles injury. He might not ever live up to his draft status (#3 overall in 2020) but it sounds like he is on track to be ready for training camp and hopefully he can salvage his career.

2022 Schedule:

Week 1 Sept. 11 vs. Philadelphia 1:00

Week 2 Sept. 18 vs. Washington 1:00

Week 3 Sept. 25 at Minnesota 1:00

Week 4 Oct. 2 vs. Seattle 1:00

Week 5 Oct. 9 at New England 1:00

Week 6 Oct. 16 BYE

Week 7 Oct. 23 at Dallas 1:00

Week 8 Oct. 30 vs. Miami 1:00

Week 9 Nov. 6 vs. Green Bay 1:00

Week 10 Nov. 13 at Chicago 1:00

Week 11 Nov. 20 at NY Giants 1:00

Week 12 (THU) Nov 24 vs. Buffalo 12:30

Week 13 Dec. 4 vs. Jacksonville 1:00

Week 14 Dec. 11 vs. Minnesota 1:00

Week 15 Dec. 18 at NY Jets 1:00

Week 16 (SAT) Dec. 24 at Carolina 1:00

Week 17 Jan. 1 vs. Chicago 1:00

Week 18 TBD at Green Bay TBD

Schedule thoughts: There is optimism that the Lions are on the right track with their rebuild, but that is not reflected in their lack of national TV exposure. There are zero prime time games, as the Thanksgiving game is their only scheduled national TV appearance. All other games are scheduled for 1:00, so the Lions could be under the radar, and maybe you will be able to find fantasy value with Lions players because of this.

I will be back next month with a training camp preview.


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