I think everyone wanted this to work out so badly. Dan Campbell, the human being, is just such a good guy. He’s funny and charming and he’s one hell of a motivator. He can undeniably command a room in front of a podium. He’s everything you’d want in a coach if he were also able to coach football. Sadly, it’s beginning to look like he may not be able to do that essential part of the job.
In the past three weeks, the Detroit Lions have gone very quickly from one of the hottest teams in the league to the bottom of the league. They did it in embarrassing fashion and they did it with bad coaching gaffes in each game. Sunday’s gaffe may have been the most embarrassing. Campbell kept the Lions offense on the field for a fourth-and-9 conversion attempt, and it immediately led to a Jared Goff fumble and a New England Patriots defensive touchdown.
The whole going for it on fourth down thing used to be cute. The aggressive Dan Campbell thing was really fun too. Now you just can’t help but scoff at it when it happens. It’s like that quirky thing about your ex that was cute at first, but then it became nails on a chalkboard.
Campbell and his coaching staff have demonstrated that this may be too big for them. The idea that former players could go right into coaching and perform at a high level is a nice thought. But there’s more to this job than just getting the players to like you.
Dan Campbell’s star is beginning to fall fast. He is deep in the hole right now, especially after the Lions were dominated by a team that has Matt Patricia on their coaching staff. This loss hurts.
I don’t know where this team goes from here, but at one point in time, I thought I could guarantee that Dan Campbell was taking them in the right direction. Now I just can’t do that anymore. It’s hard to see the path out of the hole Campbell.
Why it’s an overreaction
First off, it’s not that big of an overreaction. I wrote about it last week. This was the one game that Dan Campbell couldn’t lose and he lost it in the worst way. He is indeed in that hole and the fans are going to turn on him.
With that said, he does get a few benefit of the doubt type excuses. The first is that this team is still very early into a rebuild. They’re a very young and inexperienced team that is making a lot of mistakes you’d expect from a young and inexperienced team. The ridiculous amount of injuries facing this team isn’t helping, either.
What we’ve learned recently is that the Lions are further behind in that rebuild than we may have originally thought. There is a lot of work that needs to be done with this team before they can take the next step.
The good news is that the Lions have plenty of draft picks and plenty of money. They can go into this offseason and make some serious investments in the team and maybe things will take off in 2023, but it’s not happening in 2022.
Other than that, Dan Campbell isn’t going to get much defense in Detroit. He needs to take a long look at himself over the course of the bye week and figure out what he can change and what work he can do to make sure that he can climb out of the hole and steer this rebuild back in the right direction.
I know some Lions fans are going to want Campbell gone right away and I get the reactionary response. I’m not there yet. Despite the horrible last few weeks, I’m not even close to being there. The reality of what this team is has set in, and I can totally understand being upset about that. But three weeks ago Dan Campbell was the guy. It’s too early to talk about firing him. Maybe it’s too early to talk about firing anyone.