How Detroit Lions wide receivers virtually prep for 2020 NFL season

NBC Sports

This is the fourth in a series on how NFL teams are conducting their offseason programs, and installing their 2020 plays virtually. Previously: the Chargers offensive line, the Seahawks tight ends and the Vikings wide receivers. Today, Detroit wide receivers.

The Lions are in the first week of the NFL’s “Phase II” of the offseason program. In Phase II, teams are allowed normally to work on the field without pads as they begin to install their 2020 playbooks, but this year, because all work is being done virtually, teams have to trust players to do the work they’re being assigned in the honor system. Or, in Detroit’s case, in a necessarily muddled way.

The scene: Coach Robert Prince, from his home in Jacksonville, is the longest-tenured Detroit assistant—on the Lions staff since 2014—which lends an air of normalcy to an abnormal time. He teaches his receivers for a two-hour daily session via Zoom videoconference. The roster on these Zoom sessions, and where they’re joining calls from: Danny Amendola (Austin, Texas), Marvin Jones (San Diego), Kenny GolladayVictor Bolden and Gerramy Davis (Los Angeles), Marvin Hall (Poway, Calif.), Chris Lacy (Dallas), Tom Kennedy (Farmingdale, N.Y.), Travis Fulgham (Florida), Geronimo Allison (Green Bay), converted DB Jamal Agnew (Detroit), rookie Quinten Cephus (Arizona).

The veteran: Danny Amendola. “Control what you can control,” he says. This is the 34-year-old Amendola’s 12th NFL season. Detroit is his fourth different team, and he’s in his second year as a Lion. The toughest thing, he told me, is that both of the local gyms in Austin where he works out have had to close because of the pandemic, so he had to improvise. He has re-located a weight room—with a dumbbell circuit, Kettlebells, and traditional weights and bars—at the back-house of an Austin friend. That’s where he lifts. He works out at several other places, doing Yoga at his home and throwing with NFL quarterbacks Baker Mayfield (Browns) at Austin’s Westlake High and with Colt McCoy (Giants) on varying days; on this day, he had Yoga at 2:15, and a throwing session with McCoy at 3. “I’ve been throwing twice a week for about a month with Baker,” he said. He also flew (“private,” he said, “being very safe”) to Atlanta for four days of throwing with Matthew Stafford.

“We’re going to miss 14 on-field sessions of OTAs, most likely,” Amendola said. “That’s going to be the toughest thing to get over. But everybody’s in the same boat. For us, the good thing is we got the offense installed last year [under offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell], and we’ve got a lot of the same people back this year.”

The assistant coach: Robert Prince. He’s gotten some advice on distance learning from the two teachers in his family—his father and sister. Their advice: “Over-communicate.” In the first three weeks of Zoom teaching, Prince said he explained the whys of every route. If a player wondered why he was running a specific depth on a certain route, knowing the quarterback wouldn’t see him in his prime progression, Prince might explain that he was running a route to get the receiver inside of him open and free from a bashing in the five-yard bump zone. In this week, Prince urged his players to find space to do their route work outside—but he knows it’s hard for players like Golladay, because there aren’t many public open fields in the Los Angeles area, which is still discouraging people from using open facilities for workouts.

There’s another factor for the Detroit coaches. Prior to the off-season program, coach Matt Patricia told each assistant to come up with a plan for every player to work on a weakness, or on an aspect of his game that could be improved. With Amendola, Prince is emphasizing footwork. Some offenses in the NFL have different ways of coming in and out of breaks, or coming off the line of scrimmage. Amendola is working on aligning his footwork with the way Detroit teaches it.

The head coach: Matt Patricia. You’d think, with a 9-22-1 record in two years with the Lions and knowing the pressure’s on in year three, that Patricia would be all wound up by the coaching inconveniences of a coronavirus-plagued offseason. He’s not. In fact, four times in 30 minutes on Thursday, he emphasized the most important thing about this offseason—and in fact, this year as a whole—is his players and staff coming through it healthy. “Football’s important to all of us,” he said. “But I don’t want to see any of our people on ventilators.”

Similarly, as individual team-instructed workouts of players began outside last week, Patricia said he wanted players who could to work out at local fields—but he didn’t want to put pressure on them if their lives were chaotic. Also: In some ways, he sounded like the adversity of this spring would help him. “My biggest struggle in the job is work-life balance,” he said. When he was a kid in upstate New York, he bonded with his dad over “Monday Night Football.” With his son Dominic getting more interested in football, Patricia said it was fun during the draft to spill the beans to Dominic that they were about to pick Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah before the world knew.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!