Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell has taken plenty of heat for some of his outlandish behavior since joining the NFL as a head coach, but it doesn’t seem to bother him a bit.
Campbell has spoken passionately about biting kneecaps and what kind of tough team he wants to field in Detroit. He also recently donned a racing helmet at a press conferences which further inflamed the passions of the internet. Many believe Campbell isn’t set to be a great coach because of these behaviors and consider him to be some type of a goofball, but the boss doesn’t exactly agree.
The latest Lions news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lions newsletter here!
As Campbell told the media when speaking before Detroit’s minicamp, he’s not worried about the criticism since he will be critiqued either way, and ultimately he will be judged by the wins and losses and his overall record as a coach. As he also said, he’s been enjoying being able to be himself in the meantime.
Campbell shouldn’t have to answer for any behavior or apologize, as he has been engaging, interesting and authentic, ad the players seem to appreciate what he has done thus far and how he is leading the team. Campbell is also smart to know that ultimately, the wins and losses will be the only thing that matter. If the coach becomes a winner and leads the Lions out of the basement, suddenly, some of the criticism he has seen will turn into universal praise.
Overall, it’s a smart take from a guy who understands the game as a player and now as a coach.
Campbell Revels in Being Authentic
It’s clear the coach is who he is, and that’s a refreshing trait to have in the world. Campbell isn’t going to change his stripes just because he became the head coach of a team, nor is he going to try and be someone he is not. When folks try to do this, they become easy to see through, so Campbell’s best bet is probably to remain authentic and keep doing whatever it is that makes him comfortable. That authenticity will help him relate to his players as well as the fans in his new city.
Campbell might be taking heat from those who don’t know him right now, but it’s all just noise in the end.
Campbell Planning on Injecting Fun Into Work
So how does a coach make the grind of the offseason fun and keep the attention of his players? Not only with acts like this and rallying players, but approach on the field. It’s an easy task if you’re a coaching staff that values hard work as well as fun and has a good way to balance things out. As Campbell explained, the way to help the guys have fun is simply to have them compete against each other and get after it.
“We’re just being ourselves. Everybody that I’ve hired here, they know how to demand a lot out of the players, but they also know how to tell them when they’re doing a good job. The trick is always, how do you get them to work when they don’t even realize they’re working? You put them in a competitive environment and man, they can’t help themselves. The juices start flowing. Small competitive things make it fun and guess what, they’re getting work out of it and they’re having fun.”
Working will be important to these Lions given all the changes that have taken place on the roster and all that has to be done in terms of implementing new schemes, but it’s good to see that Campbell hasn’t forgotten the element of fun even as the Lions have been working.
Campbell doesn’t really seem to care of any heat he takes for being himself. That’s pretty refreshing to note.