The Lions’ recent playoff victory over the Redskins brought to an end a two-year playoff drought, and in the process, the team showed that it has a lot of heart and determination. This is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted in the NFL, nor should it be allowed to be a team that is only winning when it has a good quarterback. For the Lions to be able to compete the next few seasons, they’re going to need to have a more stable quarterback than they have had the past two years. After being released by the Raiders, Dan Campbell is now able to capitalize on the opportunity to build a strong and stable team that can allow players like Matthew Stafford to succeed.
This week, we learned that Lions veteran players are “buying in” to the new coaching staff’s vision, as they work to build a winning team culture in the post-Patricia era. Head coach Dan Campbell has been described as a “players’ coach” since his days in the Miami Dolphins’ locker room, and his players are said to respect him and his goal of building one of the NFL’s best offensive lines.
The Detroit Lions are going to be in for some major changes in the coming years, and at the top of their list of offseason priorities will be building a foundation for a successful future. The new head coach will want to bring in players that he feels are the right fit for his system, and one way to do that is by setting a tone of buy-in. For example, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been a bit of a problem child for the last few years, and he instantly took a liking to Dan Campbell.
The Detroit Lions have been one of the league’s most unsuccessful teams. Despite being around throughout the entire Super Bowl period, the club has never played in one. They haven’t made the playoffs since the 2016 season, and they haven’t won one in 20 years. In more recent Lions history, during a 5-11 season in 2020, the club fired Matt Patricia 11 games into the season. If the response of the players to new head coach Dan Campbell is any indicator, the move may be beneficial to the club.
The Lions have hired Dan Campbell as their new head coach.
Patricia and general manager Dan Quinn were fired in November 2020, according to ESPN. Since taking over the coaching staff in 2018, Patricia has guided the club to a 13-29-1 record, despite Detroit’s third consecutive losing season. Last season, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell served as interim head coach, but he was not hired permanently. The Lions hired Saints assistant Dan Campbell in January, giving him his first full-time head coaching job after serving as an interim in Miami after Joe Philbin’s dismissal in 2015.
Campbell’s “more than 20 years of expertise as both a coach and a player in the National Football League” was cited by Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp, according to CBS Sports. She praises him for having “great energy” and a “respect for the game,” saying he “understands the rigors of professional football and what it takes to be successful.” Campbell allegedly signed a six-year deal with the Lions.
The Lions’ players are on board with Campbell’s strategy.
According to CBS, despite not having been with the Lions during Patricia’s time, Michael Brockers has heard tales about the former coach from his current Lions colleagues. In comparison to Patricia, the players are assuring Brockers that “this coaching staff understands.” The coaches “connect with you,” and the players “believe” what Campbell and his staff are saying.
Brockers is optimistic about the club’s prospects after the 2021 season in Detroit, stating they’re “starting on the right foot” and it’ll be “certainly exciting to go ahead with this team.” He highlighted his time with the Rams, who improved from 4-12 in 2016 to 11-5 in 2017 and made the playoffs.
Dan Campbell’s comments have gotten a lot of attention.
Dan Campbell, the Lions’ head coach, during training camp | Leon Halip/Getty Images
Campbell uses unusual statements to enthuse his players, which often generate headlines because to the substance of what he says. Campbell was asked in March by the Sporting News if he or incoming GM Brad Holmes would make roster changes when the time came. He reassured Lions fans that the two new leaders of the teams would not clash, but he did so by offering his definition of a “true alpha,” calling it someone who “knows when it’s time to concede,” meaning that if he and Holmes disagree on a roster move, they should collaborate on the decision rather than argue about it.
More recently, SN published an article on another Campbell statement that sparked debate. Campbell informed his team that he would not hold their hands or babysit them in this situation. However, several individuals were amused by the manner he said it. “Look, I’m not lugging your toilet paper around,” he told the players on his first day with the squad. I’m not going to clean your crotch. “You’re going to clean your own feces.” With the start of the season coming, expect more intriguing Campbell comments in the near future.
RELATED: The Detroit Lions’ $68.5 million gamble to get Matt Campbell from Iowa State backfired.
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