The Detroit Lions' offense took a big step forward last year the second half of the season after head coach Dan Campbell took over play calling and tight ends coach Ben Johnson was elevated to pass-game coordinator.
The Lions ranked 29th in average yards per game and 28th in scoring per contest the first half of the season. Detroit improved to 15th in yards per game and 17th in scoring the second half of the season with Campbell and Johnson steering the ship.
Johnson has since taken over as offensive coordinator, and the Lions are expected to be really strong on offense with a top five offensive line, a consistent run game and a much improved wide receiver corps after the offseason additions of DJ Chark in free agency and Jameson Williams with the No. 12 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
But what do Campbell, Johnson and the rest of the coaching staff have planned for the offense in 2022 with an entire offseason to work on it?
"I've been impressed with what he's doing, what he's implementing inside of what we're trying to get done here," Campbell said of Johnson. "I would say this, we're going to be much more efficient just on how we get things in and out of the huddle. The ability to change our tempo will be big.
"Some of that just comes from verbiage alone, believe it or not. I just feel like everything is just going to be so much more streamlined."
Houston looking to make an impact wherever he lines upLions offseason questions: Games to watchO'HARA: What we learned from rookie minicamp
The Lions have implemented more one-word calls to play with better tempo. The goal is to put as much stress on the defense as possible and dictate matchups. It was something Campbell and Johnson worked on with the rookies during last weekend's minicamp.
"Just getting our guys comfortable with that, so we're getting our rookies some of that stuff right now," Campbell said. "That's what we've been doing with the vets as well. But (Johnson's) been doing a great job. That's the thing is that everybody's on the same page. So much of this, as simple as it is, is just having the staff on the same page with what I want. Ben's doing a great job of that and using his creativity."
Most importantly, Campbell said he wants the offense to evolve to a point where they can run anything and everything in their arsenal efficiently and effectively whenever it's called upon.
"We don't want to feel like we're ever limited by what we're doing offensively, schematically, verbally, verbiage, communication, anything," he said. "Our limitations should come from, 'Well, this player doesn't do this well.' We don't ever want to feel like we're the ones holding our offense back as a staff, let's put it that way. I feel like this is going to enable us to do the most that we can do."