Sports

Detroit Lions’ Aidan Hutchinson shines early, gives defense hope

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It’s early. But already you can sense how the Detroit Lions are taking shape.

On Thursday, before the third day of organized team activities this offseason – the first open to reporters – coaches talked about the scheme and competition and the hope for young players to take a step forward.

Players aren’t wearing pads yet, but they flew around in shorts and helmets, pounding sleds and whooping and hollering after successful plays during team periods.

There isn’t anything especially new about this. It happens every spring during the earliest stages of offseason preparation.

But there is one key difference this year: The defense. It was awful in the first year of the rebuild under coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes. And now, with lots of capital devoted to it after Holmes’ first two drafts, there has been to be some improvement. There has to be, because if there isn’t, people could be looking for jobs after this season.

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The path towards defensive improvement is clear. It starts up front, where the Lions are switching to a four-man front in search of more aggression. They struggled to generate pressure and were fourth-worst in the league on third down and fifth-worst in sacks per pass attempt.

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