Losing has been the name of the game for the Detroit Lions in recent memory -- and realistically, for as long as the franchise has existed.
The organization has endured three straight losing seasons -- all of which came with Matt Patricia as the team's head coach.
The Lions combined to go a dismal 14-33-1 during those campaigns, including 5-11 in 2020.
As a result, the franchise will have a new head man patrolling the sidelines in 2021 in former New Orleans Saints tight ends coach/assistant head man Dan Campbell.
Campbell's lone head coaching experience came in 2015 when he served as the interim sideline boss of the Miami Dolphins. While with the Dolphins, he went 5-7.
Despite his limited experience as an NFL head man and Detroit's long history of losing, the 45-year-old Campbell, who has never been confused for someone who lacks confidence, believes he knows "what it takes to win."
Part of the reason why Campbell believes such is the case is the assistant coaching staff he's put together in the Motor City.
"You’re only as good as the people around you, and that’s why I hired Anthony Lynn, Duce Staley, Dave Fipp, Aaron Glenn, Dom Capers, among others," Campbell said Thursday on the last day of veteran minicamp practice. "Listen, you ask for help. You ask for guidance. ‘Hey, what did you do in this situation? What came up? Tell me something that caught you by surprise.’ You call Coach (Bill) Parcells, you talk to Sean Payton, one of my best resources. So, you ask. I mean, you ask. These things, these aren’t like – there’s things that have popped up that I haven’t asked about. I feel like there’s been so many things that, man, you write down once you start thinking about this role, that I feel like have been answered somewhat to this point. When you’re fortunate enough to know enough resources like I do and be around some great coaches, these things do pop up, and they’ve been through them. So, you think about asking them."
Campbell is also aware of the fact that he's not yet privy to all the different situations that an NFL head coach goes through.
"Does that mean I’m going to hit something that I have not seen or may not be ready for? No. It’ll happen. You’re right. But, I think you draw off the experiences (from) those around you and those men that you trust. That, to me, is step No. 1," the former Lions tight end added.
And because he's not going to have all the answers in his first season roaming the sidelines in Motown, his aim is to "grow" into the role as time progresses.
"Step No. 2 is you just continue to grow, man. Look, I’m not going to sit here and kid you; you think I’ve got all the answers? I don’t have all the answers. I’m not going to tell you that," Campbell said. "But, I know, and I’m very comfortable in my own ability and those around me. And, I know what it takes to win. I do. But, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop growing and learning and working. I mean that’s what I said -- I’m going to spend this summer, after I get my family moved here, man, I’m going to be honing in on game situations. I’m going to be honing in on the offense. How do I help A-Lynn be a better offensive coordinator? How do I help (Jared) Goff? How do I really set up the table for him or help A-Lynn do that for him? How do I help AG (Aaron Glenn), Fipp? You’ve just got to continue to grow and put yourself in those situations.”
Campbell is ultra confident in his staff and in his ability as a football coach, and could be just the right guy to turn the Lions franchise around. However, it won't be an overnight fix.
He's tasked with leading the way for a team that has a myriad of issues on both sides of the ball, and isn't expected to win many more than five games for a second consecutive season.
So, it'll be interesting to see if his strong conviction in knowing what it takes to win makes a difference on the field in 2021.
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