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Roundtable: Why Dan Campbell Is More Than Just a Soundbite

The latest SI All Lions Roundtable focuses on why Detroit Lions head man Dan Campbell is more than just a good soundbite and much more.

1.) Not caring about the salary cap, if there was one free agent the Lions could have signed this offseason, who would it have been?

Vito Chirco: I would love to say Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David here, but because he's already 31 and the Lions are clearly in rebuild mode, I'm going to say his Buccaneers teammate and EDGE rusher Shaquil Barrett.  

Barrett's logged 27.5 sacks the past two seasons in Tampa Bay, including eight in 2020. 

Knowing how anemic Detroit's pass-rush was a season ago, the 28-year-old would've been a great acquisition by the Lions this offseason. 

Adam Strozynski: This is going to sound weird, but where this team is in relation to their "rebuild" or "retool", I think the best guy was the guy they brought back in Romeo Okwara. He's young, shows talent and performed admirably while playing out of position most of last season.   

2.) What did you learn about the Lions the last month?

Chirco: The Lions are going to have more fun in 2021 than they did in 2020. Dan Campbell is all about the players being themselves on and off the field, and former Lions head man Matt Patricia was the polar opposite. It's a nice change of pace, and it seems like the players, such as T.J. Hockenson, are embracing it. 

Speaking of Hockenson, it's nice to see how he's already built a solid rapport with new Lions signal-caller Jared Goff, whom he trained with in California earlier this offseason.  

Additionally, I think the Lions were able to build some valuable chemistry in Organized Team Activities and minicamp the past few weeks. Now, let's see how that translates to training camp and then the start of the regular season.  

Strozynski: There is a sense of buy-in and culture-shifting. This is an organization that almost overnight has pivoted, and it's a top-down mentality, which seems to have the players on board. 


3.) Do you think Dan Campbell will surprise people and be a solid in-game coach? 

Chirco: I'm going to say this: I think he's going to struggle making in-game adjustments as a rookie head coach. However, I have confidence that, with the coaching staff he's assembled around him, he's going to grow into the role and become a competent in-game head man by his second season. 

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Remember, the Lions gave Campbell a six-year contract. So, they're hoping, and they believe that Campbell has the potential to become a solid NFL head coach as time goes on. It's why I, personally, am willing to give him a season to grow into the role. 

Strozynski: I think the beginning of year one will be rough, but the second half will be better. And, in year two, this has a chance of being a good selection. I believe the sideline will run like this: the coordinators will call plays, sub-unit coaches will handle position groups and Campbell will step in when he notices something or needs to speak. Otherwise, he'll serve as the timeout master. 

4.) What are your expectations for the Lions' wide receivers in 2021? 

Chirco: They aren't very high. I think it's going to be very tough for any of the receivers to emerge on to the scene and to stand out on a weekly or even semi-weekly basis. 

I think Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman are solid depth pieces, and I think Amon-Ra St. Brown could be a decent rookie performer for the Lions. 

However, I have a hard time envisioning any of the wideouts being Pro Bowl-caliber in 2021, although I think Williams has the best chance of producing anywhere close to that level of production. 

Strozynski: Not a lot. I think Quintez Cephus will suprise, with the more action he gets. However, as a unit, I see the receivers amassing 2,500 yards and 12 TDs. 

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