The Detroit Lions are going to look considerably different when next they hit the field. Not only will they have a new starting quarterback, but an entirely revamped coaching staff.
The explosive Dan Campbell will now be patrolling Detroit’s sidelines. And while it will take time to remove the unpleasant memories of Matt Patricia, Campbell is well aware that it may require some patience on the part of the fan base to properly set things in motion to turn the corner.
But how hard of a sell is it to ask a fan base that’s been thirsting for meaningful success for decades to wait a little longer?
“You’re right, it is a hard sell,” Campbell told The Athletic on Sunday morning, via Zoom from his Allen Park office. “But all I know is, man, I think we do ourselves a disservice and we do the fan base a disservice if we say we’re going all in, right now. Because you know what happens? You’re going to stink in Year 2, Year 3. You’re not going to sustain. …
“We want to build a consistent winner, so that every year we are in position to win the NFC North. There’s one way to do that: You have to build this from the ground up, and it’s gotta come from the draft.”
Considering Campbell was a member of the Lions squad that became infamous for going winless during the 2008 season, he’s very familiar with the plight of the franchise. Naturally, in a perfect world, the Lions would immediately rebound and find themselves playing meaningful games in December and competing in playoff games.
But what we as fans want and what reality offers aren’t always aligned. But for Campbell and the new-look Lions, it will be about laying a foundation for future success.
“Of course I want to win now,” Campbell said. “Who doesn’t want to win now? And we’ll do whatever we can to win now, but not to sacrifice what we can become long term. I look at things two years out — I don’t look at them right now.”
“I want to know where we can be two years from now, even possibly three years from now. I know that’s crazy in this business, but if you want to have long-term success, something you can sustain, something where we can create a winner here in the North for a long period of time, you have to build it properly. You have to have building blocks. You have to have a core.”
New GM Brad Holmes and Campbell have the shared vision of building the team properly, and it’s going to be a challenge.
“If you think you’re gonna just fill it with a bunch of free agents, no matter how much I love those guys or we find the right guys, you’re crazy,” Campbell said. “You have to build this properly. All I would ask is the fans just hang in with us.”
– – Quotes via Chris Burke of The Athletic Link