The Detroit Lions are heading toward a much better season on the field in 2022, and if that is to be the case, a big reason will be the way the team has been building in the past few months.
Julian Okwara is a player who hasn’t been on the team long, but already seems to grasp where the Lions are heading for the future and provided a great explanation about where the team is moving forward to in the very near future.
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Speaking to the media on Thursday, January 7 in an interview posted to DetroitLions.com, Okwara explained that from where he sits, the team has seen their improvements manifesting and are on the right track to bigger and better things as a result. He credits the coach and the staff for getting it done and flipping the culture very quickly.
“We see the improvements we’ve made from Week 1 to Week 17, Week 18. I think it’s something to build off of. It’s a great foundation we have right now,” Okwara told the media. “I think there’s a lot of guys out here who want to play for the coaches and for Detroit. I think it’s a huge thing that we all want to be here, we all want to play for coach (Dan) Campbell, we all want to win championships, we all want to be there for Detroit and change the way the things have been around here. I think it’s a huge excitement, even on the opposite site of the ball guys want to be here, guys want to make plays, guys want to do everything to get Detroit football where it needs to be. That’s really it.”
The Lions have been said to be on the right track to building the right kind of culture, and if that’s the case, the players would be in good shape to prove it with this in mind.
Okwara Talks About His 2021 Season
This season, Okwara was able to stay healthy, which has been huge for the Detroit defense. The Lions needed Okwara to come into his own, and he managed to get the job done for the team. That’s the kind of progress that could set the team up well for the future and ensure that they are a force. In terms of his own development, Okwara seemed to be very pleased with what he got done.
“I think this year was definitely a huge learning experience. I know last year I played in maybe five games, maybe a couple snaps here and there,” Okwara said. “I think it’s a huge thing, really just learning especially with. a new defense, new coaches. Really just being able to find myself, find a role. Work and get better every week. I’ve just ben trying to solidify that and get better. Control what I can control.”
With 24 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 passes defended, Okwara seems to be on the right track toward becoming a mainstay for the future. If that is the case, the Lions might have only this season to thank.
Okwara’s Stats and Highlights
Coming into the 2021 season, it was clear that Julian Okwara was going to be primed for a big effort on the field. He had missed most of his rookie 2020 season with injury, so it was clear coming in that Okwara was in position to do some damage for the Lions if he could stay healthy. Injuries up front to other players ended up helping Okwara see more of the field, as did the effort he put in as it relates to honing his craft. In his NFL career, he has 27 tackles, 3 sacks and 7 quarterback hits, with the bulk of that work playing out in 2021.
Collegiately, Okwara always showed these kind of attributes. At Notre Dame, he put up 79 total tackles and 15.5 sacks in his career to go with 2 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles. Here was some of his work in college:
After feeling like a draft steal, it’s good to see Okwara coming into his own in 2021 and making a major difference on the field.