Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Opponent focus: Tim Twentyman, Detroit Lions senior writer and insider

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff looks downfield during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff looks downfield during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

JACKSONVILLE – senior writer John Oehser each week during the 2022 regular season will speak with a writer or media member covering the Jaguars' opponent.

Up this week:

Detroit Lions senior writer and insider Tim Twentyman about the Lions' matchup with the Jaguars at Ford Field in Detroit Sunday at 1 p.m.

Question: The Lions are 4-7 with a 28-25 Thanksgiving Day loss to the Buffalo Bills their lone loss in the last month. What's the state of the Lions entering Sunday?

Answer: They feel good. They're 3-1 over the last four games and you look at Thanksgiving: They took Buffalo right to the end. They were toe to toe and that's a team expected to contend for the Super Bowl. They have figured some things out defensively, and some of their younger players are stepping up and making plays. That has been the biggest catalyst for them over the last month. They're playing much better defensively.

Q: The Lions rank eighth in the NFL in total yards and eighth in points. Where are they offensively.

A: They're finally getting healthy offensively. That's one of the biggest things. [Running back] D'Andre Swift hadn't been right since injuring his shoulder in Week 3. He's starting now to be his old self again. Their top three receivers going into the season – DJ Chark Jr., Josh Reynolds and Amon-Ra St. Brown – were on the field for the first time together on Thanksgiving since Week 3. Chark missed six games with an ankle injury. They're kind of getting healthy at the right time.

Q: Jared Goff is in his second season as the Lions' starting quarterback. Assess his play this season.

A: He has been consistent all year long; he has been solid. He has given them a chance to win every game they have played this year except for the one stinker in New England [in Week 5] when they lost 29-0. Every other game has been a one-score game with a chance. That's all you can ask from your quarterback with arguably one of the youngest teams in the NFL; they're still finding a way to be in games, win some of these games and still be in the conversation in the NFC as the calendar flips to December. The Lions have done a nice job of tailoring this offense around what Jared does well. When Jared was at his best with the Los Angeles Rams, when he was a Pro Bowl quarterback, they had a really good offensive line, they could run the football and Jared was really good at play action with weapons on the outside. That's what the Lions have tried to duplicate here. They have one of the best offensive lines in football. They're Top 10 in the league rushing and now he's starting to get all his weapons back on the outside. If you protect Jared Goff, he can sling it. He was the No. 1 pick [in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams] for a reason.

Q: What are they defensively?

A: They're young and they're playing better. [Rookie defensive end] Aidan Hutchinson has five-and-a-half sacks and two interceptions. [Rookie safety] Kerby Joseph, a third-round pick, has three interceptions; he and Hutchinson combined for six takeaways during their recent three-game winning streak, so you're starting to get plays from the young guys who you hope are your core moving forward. They have dealt with some injuries on defense and they still have some issues at linebacker to clean up, but they're starting to get contribution from some of their young guys. They're starting to take the football away more. That was one thing that was missing, but now they're taking advantage of opportunities and those takeaways have helped them win some games of late.

Q: When the Lions are good, what's their identity.

A: When they're good, they're explosive on offense and they'll pop you on defense. That's the mantra of Head Coach Dan Campbell – that grit, that toughness. When the Lions are playing well, they're running the football down your throat. They're exacting their will on offense with the offensive line. Then they're still able to hit you deep with some of the weapons they have on the outside. Defensively, they're tough and physical and they'll take the football away. When the Lions have played their best football, it has been those elements.

Q: What is success for this team?

A: You took over a team devoid of talent and won three games last season in your first season. Can you be in that graphic, the playoff graphic, the in-the-hunt graphic? Can you be in that in December in your second season? That would be huge – not only to double your win total, but to be in the conversation and playing meaningful games in the month of December. That would be real progression in Year 2 for Dan Campbell, [General Manager] Brad Holmes and this franchise.

Related Content