Dan Campbell: Should He Be Allowed To Coach His Full Contract? -Week 5

Griffin & Bass discuss whether or not Dan Campbell has shown enough as a coach for the Detroit Lions to earn the benefit of the doubt yet.

Come On, Dan Campbell!

Matthew Bassin: A thought on the Dan Campbell regime for the Detroit Lions. The regimes in the past were given three years and then shipped. That's the way it's been. There's a reason that they were signed to a six-year contract is to give this regime time. 

Ryan Griffin: If you're bad in year three if you go three straight years of just being trash. Then you're not showing me anything.

Matthew Bassin: So the offense improving from last year to this year, but they have. The offense has jumped leaps and bounds from last year to this year. 

Ryan Griffin: Ben Johnson's money, he's good. He can stay. 

Matthew Bassin: Oh, so, so it's just Ben Johnson? It's just Ben Johnson. 

Ryan Griffin: He's calling the plays. What are you talking about?

Matthew Bassin: Oh, I'm saying there's. Still, there's been an improvement on this team. It might not show up on the final score and the Windsor loss. But there has been an improvement from last year to this year, at least offensively. Defensively, we are exactly the same right now. 

Ryan Griffin: Not on defense. 

Matthew Bassin: No. On defense, we're not. But there's also No, but hang. We need a kicker that's just flat-out. We need an actual kicker. We've had kickers for so long we're not used to not having a kicker. It's a weird place to be, but defensively, and you can call it excuses if you want to. Still, when half your defense is sitting on the sideline injured, the guys you are intending to play, these are the guys you are intending to be your defensive players, and they're not even on the field.

That plays a factor in how bad your defense is. We lost more defensive players yesterday, including Okudah, who came back into the. We had guys that got knocked out that stayed out. We had guys that got knocked out and came back in Saivion Smith. God hope, he’ll gonna be okay. He got knocked out. Will Harris was knocked out.

Mele Fonua got knocked out. Jeff Okudah and Deshon Elliott both got hurt in the game, but they came back into the game. Injuries do play a factor. Now we are a bad defense with everybody on the. That we were intending to play, but when you have to back up those guys that you were intending to play cuz they were better at the position with guys that aren't as good, your defense is gonna be even worse.

So I'm not surprised that we have regressed so far defensive this year when we can't field who we expect to field on the defense. I am waiting to see Josh Paschal. We haven't seen him yet. I want to see him. There's a reason they took him high. They have a belief in him. I wanna see what he turns out to be.

I think he could be why Hutchinson gets home more often if he's good at his job. Aidan Hutchinson isn't gonna be a double team nearly as much. Suppose someone else on that damn line can actually do their job. Now I want to get to what you were talking about with the draft picks and where we are as far as all that. The Detroit Lions are in good, are in a good spot as far as cap space.

They're 12th in the NFL regarding cap space in the top half of the NFL. So they have the room to acquire guys that can help this defense faster. Veterans who have done the job for a while know their job and know how to do it. The Detroit Lions are in a good spot, positionally, as far as that's concerned about money compared to the rest of the NFL.

Many teams out there have spent a whole bunch and look very bad regarding cap space. The Detroit Lions are in the top half of the NFL. So they have that to go along with whoever they take in the draft. I agree with you. I would love for Will Anderson to be a Detroit Lion. Absolutely. And then that next pick as well.

It needs to be defensive-minded in my mind, but we've been seeing it for the last couple of years. It feels like we're on the same page as the regime and the staff, who have been focusing mostly on the defense. When it comes to the NFL draft, so they're on the same page as we are on. It just hasn't panned out yet.

Again, we are so early into this regime. There is a reason these guys were given a six-year contract. It is to break the trend that the Detroit Lions have been on for the last 25-plus years. And old heads are going to say it's older than that, but in the nineties, The Detroit Lions were actually competitive. They were actually a good football team once in a while.

They made an NFC Championship game. Yes, it was 1991. It was a very long time ago, but throughout Barry Sanders‘ run, they were at least competitive, and in the playoffs, they didn't. And it's been a long time since we won in 1991. The last time we won a playoff game, or it might have been the beginning of 92.

But either way, it's been a long time, and I understand that. And we're sitting here still waiting for the next example of when we're gonna do it, but once every few years, making the playoffs are not where we want to be. We want to be a competitive, consistent football team that is fighting for playoff position year in and year out most years.

Very rare. Is there a team that does it consistently? All the damn time. But to be one of those teams where you can at least be fighting for a playoff spot every single year, whether you make the playoffs or not, that's where we need to be. That's the first step for me. But you need to have patience with the regime and let them do their job through the good and the bad.

You cannot overreact either way. And all we've been doing as a fan base is overreacting to these Detroit Lions. Oh my god. They score so many points. Oh my God. They almost beat the Eagles. Oh my God. We got shut out by the Patriots. Oh, the horror. It's Bill Belichick. He does his job better than anybody who's ever been a head coach.

What do they do really well, and what do we suck at? Oh, they run the ball really well, and we can't stop the run. Guess what? They ran it right down our throats. Rhamondre Stevenson ran for 160-plus yards on 25 carries, and the offense around it did its job. Bailey Zappe was poised in the pocket and did his job.

He didn't have to throw that much, and when he did, it was for many safe throws playing off play action and beating our defense in. That makes it easier on the quarterback. They are good at their job. It's gonna take a while. For us to be good at our job, we need to have patience with the regime that has been put in place to get us where we want to go.

Ryan Griffin: And not at the regime proves to you that they can't coach, though. Are you gonna give 'em six years if they just proved to be bad? So like, that part doesn't make sense to me. 

Dan Campbell regime Detroit Lions

Matthew Bassin: Because we don't know if they can coach or not. We're in 22 games. How do we know if they can coach or not? 

Ryan Griffin: The decisions Dan Campbell's making. I think we're leading 

Matthew Bassin: Every single one of them is bad? Every single decision he's made is bad?

Ryan Griffin: Dog. He didn't kick a field goal. He went for it on fourth and nine, down six. 

Matthew Bassin: Yeah.

Ryan Griffin: Against a rookie quarterback? 

Matthew Bassin: I know. 

Ryan Griffin: Yeah, what do, you mean? 

Matthew Bassin: Because he's shell-shocked and doesn't have a kicker. He hasn't had a kicker. 

Ryan Griffin: He gave the Vikings a time-out that he absolutely didn't need to give him. And then come 

Matthew Bassin: Oh, absolutely. 

Ryan Griffin: And then the Vikings scored the game-winning touchdown. 

Matthew Bassin: Yeah. Terrible. Terrible though. 

Ryan Griffin: He was the more experienced head coach in that game. The Vikings had a first-year head coach. They came in, and boom. They didn't make that mistake. 

Matthew Bassin: I understand. We did. He has made bad decisions,

Ryan Griffin: So we need to stop,

Matthew Bassin: He's also made good. But how many of those four downs that he went for did get, kept them in the game in the first place? He gave the Detroit Lions the lead in the first place, going for those fourth downs against the Vikings.

Ryan Griffin: Yeah. And then what happened? And then what? What?

And then what happened? 

What happened when they needed to go for it on fourth down, or at least punt it to have a chance to win? What'd he do out of 3 options?? 

Matthew Bassin: There have been too many mistakes made. I can't even think of them. 

Ryan Griffin: Yeah, exactly. He kicked the field goal. That missed. Everybody in the whole world knew was gonna miss. He didn't go for it. 

Matthew Bassin: Mm-hmm. 

Ryan Griffin: He didn't punt it. He was like, You know what, I'm gonna kick it. The one thing nobody wanted him to do like he was a mistake waiting to happen, at least now. And maybe he gets better the rest of the season, but if he keeps coaching like that, I'm not giving them six years worth of that.

And so you look at the other regimes, right? They got fired after three years. They probably should have been fired sooner. Oh. I wish we would've fired Matt Patricia after one year. I think we'd be in a better spot. 

Matthew Bassin: I mean, obviously, I wish they, everybody, been hired, Patricia.

But how does firing this regime right now, a year, not even a full year and a half? We're not even a year and a half yet into it, and everyone's already been calling for his head. 

Ryan Griffin: I said give him all the next year, and if we're still bad, if we're still a four or five-win football team, and he's still doing the same like that, I don't wanna swear if he's still doing the same dumb stuff. And you don't get three more years to be dumb. 

Matthew Bassin: How much better can this team be next year? What do you really see in the draft that's gonna make the team this much better? Especially if you're gonna keep Jared Goff as the quarterback, which, God willing, I hope they don't. But how much better can this team get?

The defense needs to all of a sudden be a hell of a lot better than they've been to give the offense chance to win football games. We've been scoring enough points to win football. The defense just isn't there, whether it's from inexperience, health or talent, or scheming. It just hasn't been there yet. But again, we are 20 games into a regime. 

Ryan Griffin: The defense can't be any worse, but say the Detroit Lions again, right? Go three and 14 this year, or four and 13 or something. Really? Mm-hmm. Really bad record. If again, next year they're four and 13, and the defense is still out here giving up 30 points a game then. No, they haven't gotten better. Do I think the defense can get better? Yes. Does that mean there's a top-10 defense in the NFL? No. But if they can do, if they can even get into the, like, the top two-thirds, if they can be 24th instead of, I'm sure they're 32nd right now. I didn't check. I'm sure they're 32nd.

Yeah. If they can just get to 24th, that'll probably push 'em to seven or eight wins, if the offense can stay the same, which again, adding Jameson Williams even getting a fully healthy old line, cuz they, they still don't have that. Then, D'Andre Swift. Oh, hopefully, it's healthy for a full year.

It is probably not gonna happen. But you start to add those pieces to it. You start to add those pieces together. That's an eight or nine win football team. We see bad defenses make the playoffs every single year. Not a, not as bad as the defenses the Detroit Lions have right now, but that's where they can get better.

And nobody's asking them to jump the top five right away, but Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn, if next year they can't get that defense to not be just the worst in the NFL, right? Or at least be competitive with the bottom, I don't know, the bottom eight defenses in the NFL, be interchangeable with some of those guys. I think that'll go a long way in helping your win-loss record. 

Matthew Bassin: Okay, so you're not asking for obscene amounts of improvement. You're fine with being around 500 next year 

Ryan Griffin: yeah, of course. 

Matthew Bassin: So seven and 10 to eight and nine to nine and eight. Not seven and 10. You don't want seven and 10. You want at least eight and nine.

Ryan Griffin: I don't want seven and 10. It's contextual, right? If there's something that happens, then they probably should be nine, and whatever, like yeah, that's fine, I guess 

Matthew Bassin: so you want to see improvement, and I get that, and I absolutely agree with you. I don't disagree with that at all. There has to be an improvement. I agree. If we go three wins, three wins, and three wins in the first three years of Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes, something does need to change without it being, Absolutely injured, riddled, and losing everybody. But that seems to get be getting lost, and this year's shuffle so far is that there has been a great improvement on the offensive side of the ball.

This time last year, the Detroit Lions were scoring 19 points a game. This time this year, including this goose egg. They're at 28 points a game. That includes this goose egg. So going into it. Obviously, we knew when they were the number one offense in football at that point. So we are seeing improvements in the Dan Campbell regime.

It's on the offensive side of the ball, which is much easier to fix than the defensive side. A lot quicker fixed than the defensive side of the ball. 

Ryan Griffin: There has to be still like even a certain level of improvement, cuz, yeah, last year they were oh 10. Are they better than they were last year? Yes, because they, by proxy, have a win, right? And they probably should have at least another win this year. They should have had a couple of wins last year. They lost to the Ravens, giving up a 66-yard field goal in a game that I thought Dan Campbell also flubbed up. Those kinds of things just happened.

So they're better than last year. But it's not even just for me. It's not just, are you better than last year? Like you gotta be a certain amount. If you went 0 and 10 again, I might say fire to you this year, but they're not, so he's safe from that. And outside of man, outside of the Detroit Lions going like one in 16, I guess I probably wouldn't say fire Dan Campbell after this year. Okay. He keeps making those stupid decisions, though… 

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Dan Campbell,regime,Detroit Lions

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Griffin & Bass – Hosted by Ryan Griffin and Matt Bassin – We discuss the latest hot topics of the week and have some fun while doing it. New episodes are LIVE Tuesdays and Fridays.

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