When Dan Campbell was hired as the coach of the Detroit Lions, many questioned the move on the basis of the fact that the boss was somewhat goofy given his press conference actions.
In spite of that, though, it’s become clear that there is a whole other side to Campbell that some folks don’t want to acknowledge exists at all. The only way the coach is going to make a believer out of these people is to win, and the good news is Campbell might understand better than anyone how to get that done.
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Recently, Campbell was asked about how he’s been preparing to become a head coach in the league. What he offered was perhaps the most insightful response to a question that he has had since becoming a boss in the league. As he explained, it’s due to experiences and surrounding himself with the right lifelines.
“You’re only as good as the people around you, and that’s why I hired Anthony Lynn, Duce Staley, Dave Fipp, Dom Capers amongst others. You ask for help, you ask for guidance. You call coach (Bill) Parcells, you talk to Sean Payton, one of my best resources. So, you ask. It’s not as if there are things that have popped up that I haven’t asked about. There are so many things you write down once you’re thinking about this role that I feel like have been answered somewhat to this point. When you’re fortunate enough to know enough resources like I do to be around enough great coaches, these things do pop up and they’ve been through them so you think about asking them. Dos that mean I am not going to hit something that I have not seen may not have seen or won’t be ready for? No, It’ll happen. But I think you draw of those experiences of those around you and those men you trust. That is step one. Step two is you continue to grow. I don’t have all the answers, I’m not going to tell you that. But I know and am very comfortable in my own ability and those around me and I know what it takes to win. I do. But that doesn’t mean I am going to stop growing and working and learning. You just got to continue to grow and put yourself in those situations.”
As insightful takes go, this one might take the cake for the coach. To hear that Campbell understands his new job this well is intriguing. Matt Patricia often explained that the first year of coaching in the league is like drinking out of a firehose, but Campbell seems to have things under much better control.
It might be apropos of nothing, but it could also show why Campbell is more engineered to succeed than Patricia ever was.
Why Campbell’s Quote Matters
Arrogance is not a part of the Campbell mantra, and has not been thus far during his brief career as a coach of the team. It’s clear the coach has taken a collaborative approach to his new job. That was promised by the team when they were going through the hiring process before hiring Campbell. The fact that the coach can admit he doesn’t know everything is a breath of fresh air off the previous regime, where this idea seemed to go out the window regularly.
Campbell stepping up and admitting he needs help and has already been seeking shows that he understands what he is getting into.
Lions Culture Looking Better Already
It isn’t a stretch to proclaim the team much better off now than under Matt Patricia. Brad Holmes has come in and been a solid influence already, and Dan Campbell has shown to be the kind of leader that can galvanize young players and veteran players alike. Already, the team’s older players have taken a liking to the culture he is trying to build, and it’s not a stretch to say the young guys the team has drafted will fit the team like a glove. The front office is trying to bring Calvin Johnson back into the fold and keep their former players happy, so from top to bottom, it seems the franchise is simply in a better place than it was just less than a year ago.
Obviously, there’s a long way to go before the culture can be proclaimed to be completely fixed, but the Lions are certainly off to arguably their best start ever at getting things right. Campbell himself helps to prove that, if only folks give him a chance and listen.