2024 Detroit Lions: Super Bowl or bust

McAfee reacts to Ben Johnson staying in Detroit (1:12)

"The Pat McAfee Show" reacts to the news that offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will be staying in Detroit next season. (1:12)

As receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown walked off the field at Levi's Stadium following the Detroit Lions' NFC Championship Game loss to the San Francisco 49ers, he experienced a feeling he didn't want to feel again: defeat.

Despite the Lions winning two playoff games in a single postseason for the first time since 1957, while collecting their first division title in more than three decades, St. Brown wasn't satisfied.

Moving forward, the Lions have their sights set on bringing a Super Bowl to Detroit.

St. Brown described it as "unfinished business" during the Pro Bowl Games.

"I don't think any one of us want to feel that again if we can," St. Brown said after the loss on Jan. 28. "I think the feeling that we have is enough to motivate us for next year. We had a good year as a whole, but it is all for nothing if you don't win the whole thing.

"Everyone's goal to start the year is to win the Super Bowl and if you don't, you kind of fail that season. Whether you lose here in the NFC championship or don't make the playoffs, it is all the same. We will be ready."

One of the main areas for improvement this offseason will be on defense. The Lions need an upgrade to the secondary, with more talent at cornerback, while also finding a difference-maker to pair with Pro Bowl edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson.

Detroit's defense allowed 23.2 points per game, ranked 23rd in the league, while allowing 7.8 yards per pass attempt, which ranked 31st.

As the team tries to take that next step of reaching the Super Bowl, Lions general manager Brad Holmes knows he can't overlook that area, but he also has faith in the players on the roster and their ability to improve.

"We have a lot of young players on defense. And look, we play an aggressive style. I think there's no question on our identity. But I don't really see there's a big discrepancy of talent," Holmes said during his end-of-the-season news conference on Monday. "We're just kind of working together. But it's a total team effort. We don't look at defense different than we look at offense. We don't look at special teams different. We're trying to build a team, and I know everybody wants everything to be paired.

"You have a Pro Bowl pass-rusher with double-digit sacks and 100 pressures. Everybody wants to pair the pass-rusher with somebody. You have a D-tackle that was on his way before he got hurt to, potentially, a Pro Bowl season and sacks, you want to pair him with that guy. You have a promising young safety; you want to pair him. Everybody wants to and trust me, that's what we want, too. We want the same thing. We want, not only the frontline depth of all 11 starters, but we want all the depth to be really, really quality, and that's what we strive to do."

The Lions also could also benefit with adding depth to the offensive line, with the possibility of losing guards Graham Glasgow, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Jonah Jackson through free agency. With strong protection, Lions quarterback Jared Goff was able to enjoy a career renaissance where he passed for 4,575 yards and 30 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.

He also became the third quarterback in Lions history to record multiple playoff wins and has expressed interest to remain in Detroit for the long-term with one year remaining on his contract.

Holmes says they have discussed the possibility of an extension but haven't reached a decision just yet. However, the Lions' front office has maintained constant faith in Goff as their guy for the future.

"I didn't understand why his career was defined after he went to a Super Bowl a second year as a full-time starter. And so, then when he came to us, I always had belief," Holmes said of Goff. "So, him doing what he did this past year or even the year before, it's not a surprise to us. I just know how he's wired.

"I know the talent he has, I know the leadership he has, I know his mental and physical toughness, I know what he's made about and I think his peers, and definitely his teammates recognize the same things. So, just happy that what he's done and just couldn't be more proud of everything he's achieved."

Another promising sign for the Lions this upcoming season is they retained both coordinators. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn both receiving serious head coaching interest but ended up staying in place. Holmes feels that it's a sign that the Lions are building a "great culture" that coaches want to remain a part of.

Hutchinson was happy with the news of having both guys back. He feels that when you can have more years with a coordinator, it gives the defense a better understanding of the system as they're ready to take that next step.

"I don't know if there's one thing that we can do right now. I feel like what we did last season and the experience that we had and the experience that we have now going into the NFC championship," Hutchinson told ESPN during the Pro Bowl Games. "I feel like that alone is going to carry us far next year, having that playoff experience when we do get in the playoffs. So that's what I feel like is the most important thing, is having that experience."