The Detroit Lions' coaching staff, starting with head coach Dan Campbell, has vowed to get more out of the players on the roster who were holdovers from the previous regime.
“Here’s what I do know: Every player on this roster is going to be better than they were last year,” Campbell said via MLive. “I know that with everything in my heart because of the staff I brought in. That’s why I made this investment into our staff of guys that we kept or added. I believe these guys are outstanding teachers, they’re outstanding men, they’re outstanding coaches. You want to change a culture? Bring in great people. You want to make your guys better? Don’t just bring in great people, bring in great teachers of the game."
After eight seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Todd Wash was brought to Detroit to coach the defensive line.
Wash, who worked his way up to the position of Jaguars defensive coordinator, aided in building a defense with a dangerous pass rush. In 2017, Wash & Co. earned an opportunity to play in the AFC Championship Game, eventually losing to the New England Patriots, 24-20.
Now, in Detroit, a player that has yet to meet his full potential is defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand.
In 2018, Hand recorded 27 tackles and three sacks in 13 games of his rookie campaign. He finished tied with Derwin James as the highest-ranked defensive rookie in the league, according to PFF.
In the past two seasons, Hand has only recorded two tackles for loss, and has missed several games (19) due to various injuries.
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Wash indicated during his latest media session that when he watched film, he saw the potential for a player to take the next step in his career.
"When I came in, he was a young man that we had a lot of conversations about. When I flipped on the tape and when he's healthy, he's something. I think he's something teams are going to have to deal with," Wash explained. "That's my job, is to get him to be able to stay healthy, get him prepared physically and athletically. He has a chance to be a special player in this league. We just got to keep him healthy. And, we're going to do everything we can to get him on the field as much as we can."
If Hand is able to stay on the field and elevate his game, the defensive line has an increased chance of turning the corner -- and sooner rather than later.
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