Campbell: Lions Assistants Are Not 'C.Y.A' Guys

Read more on Dan Campbell's thoughts regarding the collaborative approach the Detroit Lions will take in 2021
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Dan Campbell believes in conversation. 

Campbell, the Lions' new head coach, wants everyone in the organization to have an input on decisions. Ranging from general manager Brad Holmes and principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp, all the way down to the team's assistants and coordinators, Campbell wants everyone to come together to make the best possible decisions for the organization. 

“I think it’s important, because that’s how you come to the best decision for the team, for the Detroit Lions,” Campbell said. “I mean, debate is good. It’s a good thing.” 

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Campbell asserted that many minds would help the team come to conclusions. With many new faces walking the hallways of the team's headquarters in Allen Park, it’s likely that Detroit will take a different approach than in years past when it comes to free agency and the NFL Draft

This collaborative approach will likely show itself on the field, as well. 

When Campbell set out to build his staff, he looked for guys with a variety of backgrounds. Many assistants, like quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell and wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle-El, are former players with long, distinguished careers. 

And with that experience comes qualified input. 

“So, all these men that are here right now, I feel really good about that,” Campbell said. “I don’t feel like these are guys that are 'C.Y.A' guys. These are guys that are like, ‘Man, let’s get in the foxhole, and let’s get to work. How do we improve this thing.’”

Campbell built his staff quickly upon being hired, swiftly identifying people to help the organization. Now, as Campbell & Co. approach their first offseason as a staff, expect the Lions to deliberate on players and to come to conclusions as a group. 

“So, with that, knowing that’s the type of men they are, then man, I want this debate,” Campbell said. “Give me your opinion on it. And look, they’ll be the first ones to tell you, ‘Look, you’re asking me, I don’t like this. I don’t like the way we’re doing it. We should do it this way. If you’re asking, and my opinion, but yet Coach, if this is the consensus and this is the road we’re going down, I’m going right down that road with you, 100 miles (per) hour.’ My team (and) my players will fall right in line with that."

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Free-agency strategy and how it helps

With the Lions entering a rebuild, it’s expected that the team will not spend large amounts of money on big-name free agents. 

However, don’t expect Campbell, Holmes and company to sit out the action. After setting the tone for his tenure in his opening press conference, Campbell used his second media appearance to identify the type of player he’s looking for in free agency. 

“I think anybody that we bring in right now is going to need to be able to set a tone for us here,” Campbell said. “I would say this, if you look at just what is here now, when we walked in the door, it really is a good group of guys.”

Campbell went on to say that the Lions would look at all options, with hopes of building a competitive culture around the team’s plethora of youngsters. Running back D’Andre Swift and cornerback Jeff Okudah, two highly-touted rookies from the 2020 season, could be due for some competition from players that are brought in this offseason.  

“We’re not going to be in this mad rush or panic to get into the game with everybody else,” Campbell said. “We’ll find a way to make this work. It might not always be pretty. But, we’ll find guys that know how to compete and that can hold their own for a little bit here -- one way or another -- while we get up on our feet.” 

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