Dan Campbell shockingly emerges as right guy for Lions

Lions needed to detox from the Matt Patricia era.

Lions needed to detox from the Matt Patricia era.
Image: Getty Images

There was no better choice for the Detroit Lions 2021 manager than Dan Campbell. Sure at times it feels more like a caricature of a football manager than a real one when he gets carried away talking about toughness with those broad shoulders, and Lions aren’t actually a better football team than last season. They have won five games in 2020 and with three games remaining this season they would have had to win to equal that total of victories. However, what Campbell has provided the Lions this season is exactly what they needed: a detox.

Lions were somewhat stagnant in 2017. They went 9-7 for the second straight season, but lost the playoffs after arriving the previous season. Plus, they hadn’t yet won a playoff game since 1991. The organization decided to make the move to bring what they believed was the ultimate winning culture by hiring New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

That era got off to a bad start when it was learned that Patricia had been indicted on suspicion of sexual assault on a spring break trip when he was in college. The only reason he was never tried is that the accuser decided not to do so due to the stress and the charges were dropped. Patricia has always said that she did not do what she was accused of.

Once the season started, however, Patricia got embarrassed several times. He, with that unkempt hair and beard, actually told a reporter about sit down during a press conference and scolded that reporter for lack of professionalism. And he did that stunt while he was reportedly late for printers and meetings himself. of patrician “Patriotic way” he never caught on with the team and the players felt more disrespectful than anything else. He was fired last year at just 11 games.

Campbell was hired in January 2021, and its introductory press conference was mocked by the media. In trying to point out that the Lions were going to be a tough team, he used hyperbole, saying that if they were shot down they would keep getting up, and bite the kneecaps, and whatever else was necessary until they were victorious.

Of course he was silly, just like he was silly at boot camp when he was doing up down with the players, but this is a much better situation than having a handyman coach who condescends everyone from players to reporters.

Then the season kicked off with Detroit’s new quarterback, Jared Goff, and it started off in the worst possible way. The Lions started this season with eight straight losses, some of them heartbreaking. A loss to Vikings in week 5 was the second in three weeks to come from a 50+ yard field goal when time ran out, and Campbell actually he shouted during the press conference. This is atypical for a football manager who isn’t named Dick Vermeil, but he showed a distinct difference in organization. Patricia may have been interested in the players and was simply doing a bad impersonation of Bill Belichick – because she believed it was the way to win – but Campbell made it abundantly clear how she feels about the players in the Lions locker room.

That care showed when the team finally won their first game of the season. Campbell gave an exciting speech in the locker room after the win and the players She gave him the game ball. Then, two weeks later, last Sunday, the Lions beat the NFC’s biggest team of the day, the Arizona Cardinals, hard, from start to finish. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals didn’t score a single point in the first half and the final score was 30-12. This provided another opportunity for a speech in Campbell’s locker room, and knocked him out of the park again.

This team is still not far from where it wants to be. Lions have two wins, Goff is not the answer to the quarterback and Football Outsiders ranked them 29th overall, offensive and defensive DVOA. Campbell hopes to be the man who will lead them to more successful days, but even if they finish this season with just two wins, it was a success in 2021.

A pressure wash was needed to remove all the toxins left over from the Patricia era. Campbell was that, and a rinse and a deodorant too. That Sunday post-match video has nearly two million views on Twitter in less than 48 hours. It’s nice to see someone who, while intense, is still very much in touch with the human element of leadership. If people not only know where a leader comes from, but can hear where a leader comes from, they will respond much better.

Campbell has Lions who answer him. Let’s see if they can inject some talent into this group and get their record to match Campbell’s passion in 2022.

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