Dan Campbell: Linebacker Derrick Barnes ‘Deserves a Shot’ for Lions

Dan Campbell

Getty Dan Campbell on the field coaching the Lions against the Packers.

After a dismal performance on the field most of the night on defense, the Detroit Lions will have to try and regroup quickly, and a big part of that revolves around the team’s linebackers.

As a whole, this group played poorly against the Green Bay Packers, and were a big reason for the team’s eventual defeat on the field. As a result of that, the Lions could finally unleash one of their top rookies who hasn’t seen the field yet in Derrick Barnes.

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Barnes was a topic of conversation for Lions fans on Monday night as the team’s defense struggled given the linebacker saw no snaps in the game. That has been the case for a few weeks now as the Lions attempted to get the defender back to health in the preseason, and as a result, could have held him out of the first few games of the regular season. That could change in a big way now, though, and Barnes could see the field starting in Week 3.

Speaking with the media on Monday, September 21, Campbell admitted that he thinks the youngster could now be primed to play a bigger role moving forward.

Detroit Lions Media Availability: Sept. 21, 2021 | Dan CampbellWatch Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell meet the media Sept. 21, 2021. Subscribe to the Lions YT Channel: bit.ly/2OABzdx More Lions NFL Action: bit.ly/2oxtfjX #DetroitLions #Lions #NFL Keep up-to-date on all things Lions: Visit detroitlions.com/ Follow: twitter.com/Lions Follow: instagram.com/detroitlionsnfl/ Like: facebook.com/DetroitLions2021-09-21T19:15:59Z

“I think Barnes deserves a shot,” Campbell told the media. “We’ll talk about it tonight, (Aaron Glenn) and I. We’ve been just game planning, just trying to get everything down because we got the players in tomorrow, but tonight we’re going to sit down and say ‘this is how we want to handle it.’ So I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself as to exactly what it’s going to look like yet.”

Regardless of what it looks like, many Lions fans will likely be rejoicing at the potential addition of Barnes to the mix, who is a defender with promise.

Dan Campbell Praised Alex Anzalone’s Effort

One of the lightning-rods from the first few weeks was Anzalone, another linebacker who seemed to allow big play after big play on the field and struggled while doing so. Even though that was the case, Campbell had a lot of positive things to say about Anzalone.

“Alex wasn’t perfect, but I thought he was all over the field and made a lot of plays. I thought He played with a lot of energy, I think he was spot-on with his calls. He’s high-effort, he’s smart, he’s what we’re about here,” Campbell said. “I liked where he was at.”

That’s the kind of take which might make Lions fans mad considering how poorly Anzalone has graded after his play in Week 2 of the season. Pro Football Focus listed him as one of the worst defenders for the team in the game, but those metrics are clearly not something that matters in a big way to the coach.

Dan Campbell Explains How Lions Will Build Defense

While Campbell has blamed the offense for not being able to get things done and keep up in games early this season, it’s clear he thinks the team’s defense can improve as well, and he took a bit of time to explain what his ideal defense might look like on the field moving forward for the team.

“We’re trying to create a defense that’s going to challenge you on the perimeter up front,” Campbell explained. “We’re going to play the run, we’re going to build the wall and once we know it’s a pass, we need to get to the quarterback. I didn’t feel like our rush was there when it needed to be on early downs.”

Getting the team’s linebacking group more engaged and playing tougher could go a long way toward cleaning up some of these issues, and Barnes could be the next man up as it relates to doing this on the field.

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