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Dan Campbell: Decision to Call Plays Is 'Best' for Detroit Lions

Dan Campbell is entering his fourth week calling plays for the Detroit Lions' offense.

Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell is entering his fourth week as the team’s play-caller, taking over the duties from offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn in the team’s Week 10 tie with Pittsburgh. He evaluated himself when speaking with Detroit media members.

“Certainly, I can be better,” Campbell said. “It’s been three games, and in all three of those games, there’s three calls I wish I could have back. So, you learn as you go, you grow, and I’m not gonna lie, there’s things about it between learning to be a head coach and a play-caller that are all, it’s stuff that I’m working through right now.”

Campbell mentioned a situation from Week 12’s matchup against the Bears, a third-and-32, that he wishes he handled differently.

“When we’re on the minus-49 and it’s third-and-32, it’s one thing to run it, but I hated the run I called. That’s one,” Campbell said. “But, two is, hindsight, I wish I would’ve thrown. We’d have had something a little deeper, and if it’s there, great. If not, check it down and see what you can get.”

In all, Campbell reinforced the idea that he was making decisions he feels are best for the Lions in their pursuit to win a game.

“I’m doing what I feel is best for our team,” Campbell said. “This is not about me, about my ego, about me trying. I’m doing what I believe I need to do right now and what I feel is best for us.”

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That pursuit to win a game -- and budding anticipation to do so -- will make the feeling of victory all the sweeter should the Lions secure a win in 2021. Campbell said he learned a philosophy on winning from Bill Parcells and is trying to implement that idea with his team.

“Parcells always used to say there’s a demonstrated ability to win,” Campbell said. “How do you do that? Well, it’s small battles, but ultimately, you’ve gotta be able to do it in the game, you’ve got to find a way to make that play when it’s crunch time, that puts you right over the edge. It’s really hard to do it until you have to do it in the game, and so you practice it, you keep preaching those things and you work at it. But, ultimately, we’ve gotta prove that we can do it in a game. Once that happens, then you feel like, alright, now you’ve kind of got over that hump.”


Running back D’Andre Swift suffered a sprained shoulder in the Lions’ Thanksgiving loss to the Bears, and is believed to be doubtful heading into Sunday’s game. 

Because of this, Jamaal Williams will likely see an increased workload. “It’s no different than any other injury,” Campbell said. “When you lose a guy that’s been very productive, somebody’s gotta pick up the slack. The good news is we’ve got Jamaal back, we’ve got him back. So, this will be his third week to get back into the flow a little bit. Certainly, we’re gonna lean on Jamaal quite a bit, but we’re gonna use Godwin (Igwebuike), we’re gonna use (Jermar) Jefferson.”