Expectations for the 2022 Detroit Lions Coaching Staff

What Should Be Expected From Dan Campbell And His Staff?

Expectations for the 2022 Detroit Lions Coaching Staff
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Coaching Staff Expectations

Paul Rochon: So one thing that is very difficult to do, is evaluate coaching staff when you have either very little talent or an absurd amount of talent. It’s hard, both ways to really see how big of an impact a coaching staff is having outside of some clear cut egregious things. Last year, obviously the Lions fell on the sad part of that spectrum.

We were so bereft of talent, that it was hard to evaluate the coaching staff because not much was expected of them. That being said, there were several red flags last season that concerned me. You mentioned Dan Campbell stripping play call duties from our offensive coordinator that we brought in Anthony Lynn, not a guy that was just the head coach.

He was so good at being an offensive coordinator. The Chargers hired him to be their head coach and we brought him in and at the time it was seen as a coup. Everyone liked the staff Dan Campbell put together, starting with Aaron Glenn, the defensive coordinator and Anthony Lynn, the offensive coordinator last season.

We were never going to be good on offense last season, especially when the strength of our team, the offensive line didn’t play together at all, because there were always guys hurt. So it was always going to be rough. Then he said, we’re not scoring enough, we’re not doing much. We’re going to take play calling duties away from Anthony Lynn, who is no longer with the team because he didn’t come to Detroit to not call plays.

So that was a big gamble. And I didn’t see anything out of Dan Campbell, a first-time play caller, who is not called plays at any level. I didn’t see anything that made me think that he should be calling plays. It was actually concerning. And people point that the offense started to take off near the end of the season.

Pile On The Wins

They started to get healthy and they started to get used to the system. And of course you also have motivation down the stretch. One, you don’t want to go winless. You want to pile wins.  You’re on a rebuilding team and auditioning for your job, whether it’s for your next team or whether it’s to stay on this team and be a part of this rebuild.

There is a lot of motivation there, despite the team being really poor. And we got a lot healthier, especially in the offensive line toward the end of the season, Jared Goff got more comfortable in Detroit. Plus things went so poorly, Goff started playing, like he had a lot less to lose. He started slinging it a little bit more.

This is not an endorsement for Jared Goff, but he loosened up the reins a little bit when he was given the opportunity. We are still in archaic offense and we didn’t do anything that gave me a lot of hope for the future of Dan Campbell should be calling plays. 

So what I want to see starting with is Dan needs to either evolve the play call, which is possible. This is the first time he’s ever done it at any level. A full offseason to install his offense, figure out with Ben Johnson, what they want to do. 

And it was a collaborative approach, at least according to Dan Campbell, him and Ben Johnson, both of them with the rest of the offensive staff, a lot like Jim Harbaugh does with Michigan.

Taking The Reins

A lot of the time it was a collaborative approach, not as Sean McVay, just taking the reins and making all the play calls, but that was Dan Campbell’s offense. It either needs to evolve fast or he needs to make a big boy move, and give the reins to a real offensive coordinator that’s checked box one. 

As you mentioned, obviously we want to see growth of players, but I just want to see the coaching staff put players in positions that make sense.

You can let them fail. This isn’t about necessarily winning right now but, put them in the best positions that make sense. Don’t set them up for failure, go back to the office, right? 

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A.J. Reilly: That’s a big point, right? Especially with the young talent, setting them up for failure, right? Because we want them to be in positions where they can succeed and build that type of confidence. 

Any coach that’s worth their salt is going to look for opportunities to put those players in successful positions. And listen, if you listen to Dan Campbell, and I know that words don’t mean much until actions are put to them. He doesn’t seem like a guy that wants to put people in positions to fail. 

And even when he felt like the offense was failing last year, you could almost say he owned that, fired the OC and took it on himself so that nobody else would be in a position to fail except for himself. Maybe that’s a little bit of micromanaging being in a leadership position.

It could be six in my hand, half a dozen in the other. I do agree with you. I think that is the key point for this coaching staff. 

Another Thing That Goes Back To Offense

Paul Rochon: It’s another thing that goes back to offense, right? I don’t want to see us run, run, pass all year. I don’t want to see Jared Goff have to constantly throw into third and eights.

That’s not setting your players up to succeed. It’s just not. And I understand that Jared Goff is not the strength of this team and we want a good running game. We have a solid offensive line, albeit one that does not run block that well. They pass block better than they run block. Look at our highly paid left tackle Taylor Decker.

A.J. Reilly: We’ve also seen him be pretty good when he does have a very good run game. 

Paul Rochon: A good run game and that, but if you had a very good run game, you’re hopefully not. And hopefully play action. I want to see a lot more play action. 

I want to see good head coach level decisions, tough decisions. Go going forward on fourth down, like I talked about in that Pittsburgh game, when you have nothing to lose, cause you can’t win the game if you don’t.

If you don’t, you’re conceding not winning the game. If you don’t, I want you to go forward in that position. I want you to put trust in your guys, to evolve. I want you to manage the clock better, which listen, as a first time head coach, I understand there’s going to be hiccups. Last year, there were hiccups.

Head Coach Decisions

There were some close games where you could argue that he cost us down the stretch. He made some interesting decisions. I want him to grow as a head coach, making those head coach decisions; when to go for it, when to punt? How to manage the situation, when you’re winding down at the end of halftime and you have the ball, I want to see you be aggressive.

I don’t want you to sit on whatever you have in that situation. If you’re up by 30 points maybe, but for the most part, I want to see him act like a real head coach. I want to see him manage the game like a John Harbaugh, or Sean McVay. Actually, I have a lot of bones to pick with his game management. I know they won the super bowl, but we’re not going to get into that. 

But I’ll leave John Harbaugh. Sean Payton came out at halftime and kicked an onside kick in the super bowl. That’s in the super bowl, down nine to six.

That takes Coronas, right? That’s a real head coach decision. And Dan Campbell did some of that last year with nothing to lose kicking on-side kicks. I want to see him make real head coach decisions when something’s on the line, not when you’re playing the Rams.

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