1.) Have the recent criticisms of Dan Campbell and the coaching staff been fair?
Vito Chirco: Yes. The last three games have all been winnable, and the Lions haven't won a single one of them. And it hasn't just been because of the ineptitude of Detroit's roster. Instead, it's also been because of the coaching decisions made by Campbell and his staff.
For instance, there was the draw call on third-and-14 made by Campbell with his team trailing, 13-10, with 3:11 to play against the Celeveland Browns. It made absolutely no sense, and no one with a sane mind would've drawn up the same exact play. It led to a punt, and it ended up being the last time the Lions had the ball on offense.
Then, most recently, there was the double-timeout blunder late in the game against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving. The Lions had found themselves out of position defensively, after trying to get into a Cover 2 look but with no deep safety present after originally bringing eight defenders to the line of scrimmage. Campbell proceeded to call back-to-back timeouts, which is illegal and led to a 5-yard penalty.
Chicago took advantage of the situation, and ended up marching down the field for the game-winning 28-yard field goal.
Such coaching mistakes have cost Detroit dearly the past few weeks, and it's why I believe the recent criticisms of Campbell and his coaching staff have been more than fair.
Adam Strozynski: Look, I really like Dan Campbell, and was a big-time fan of this coaching staff. However, in the past three games, Campbell and friends have cost this team wins, with subpar in-game management. So yes, the criticism is fair, and should probably be even more intense.
2.) What has bothered you most about the Detroit Lions since the bye week?
Chirco: The undisciplined nature of the team. Instead of getting better in the penalties department, it seems like the Lions have progressively gotten worse since the beginning of the season. In fact, Campbell's squad committed 10 penalties against the Bears, which resulted in 67 additional yards for Chicago. That is simply inexcusable, and it's a sign of Campbell's team being an undisciplined bunch. Additionally, it's been my biggest gripe with Campbell & Co. since the bye week.
Strozynski: This team has controlled games against bad teams, and they have let those games slip through their fingers. Now, a lot has to do with the coaching staff and the execution on offense, and that is certainly most troubling.
3.) Is there a game you see remaining on the schedule the Lions can win?
Chirco: As much as I would love to say so, I don't think so at this point. I think Campbell & Co. have already squandered all their best opportunities to win in 2021. Three of those opportunities came in the last three weeks, with the biggest opportunity that they had to win having occurred in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As everyone knows by now, the game ended in a 16-16 tie. Yet, the Lions were gifted chance after chance to win the game, and couldn't do it.
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It pains me to say this, Detroit fans. But, at this juncture, an 0-16-1 campaign is looking very feasible.
Strozynski: If Green Bay has home-field advantage throughout the playoffs locked up and throws the "B-squad" out there for Week 17, then yes. But, otherwise, the answer is no.
4.) Are you concerned that D'Andre Swift is injury prone?
Chirco: Yes. He's proven time and time again that he's not very suitable for running up the middle and absorbing a ton of hits per game. Whenever he's taken the bulk of the carries, it seems like he's put himself at risk of getting hurt even more than a normal back. Case in point is the Lions' loss to the Bears, when he injured his shoulder after taking a hit from linebacker Roquan Smith. Along the way, Swift has also proven that he's too fragile to be a No. 1 back in the league.
So, unfortunately, while Swift is certainly talented and has been Detroit's most consistently productive offensive weapon in 2021, he's also proven that he's injury prone and can't be trusted to play in a full season's worth of games.
Strozynski: Going into the year, I had concerns. Now, on top of that, he has been heavily leaned on and has been utilized like Adrian Peterson used to be in his prime. Swift is not built to be that type of back. This recent injury, in my estimation, is from overuse.
5.) If Anthony Lynn is not the offensive coordinator in 2022, is there a big splash the Lions could make?
Chirco: I'd love for the Lions to hire Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. He served as a backup quarterback in both Detroit and Dallas during his time as a player in the league, and since retiring, has risen up the coaching ranks to become a highly-respected offensive play-caller.
He was rumored to be a candidate for the Lions' head coaching job before Campbell got it during the offseason, and Moore could easily be an NFL head man himself one day. I think he will be at some point, and before that happens, I'd love to see him land in the Motor City as the OC.
Strozynski: That's a tough question. I'm not sure right now. I think a more important question is: Would anyone want that position?
Campbell has neutered Lynn, and the offense under Campbell has been more run dominant. Yet, it's not putting points on the board on a consistent basis.
So, would anyone want to come in on a short leash, for a guy (Campbell) who thinks he's better than the guy (Lynn) that has proven to get more points out of a bad Lions offense? I seriously doubt that the answer is a resounding yes.