The Detroit Lions just enjoyed their first season under head coach Dan Campbell, and it isn’t a stretch to say that many of the players did enjoy the experience with their boss.
One such player was defensive lineman Michael Brockers. Brockers stepped up and played a solid role for the Lions, and even though he didn’t have huge statistics most of the year, he was one of the key leaders on the roster for the team. As a veteran voice, he appreciated what Campbell brought to the mix.
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Speaking with Jim Rome on The Jim Rome Show before the Super Bowl, Brockers was asked about where the Lions are trending. He said he believes the team can contend for the playoffs in 2022, and praised Campbell for his handling of a tough season for the team.
“When you have a season like that, you expect a coach to be irate. Just go crazy. He was calm, cool and collected the whole season and I think a lot of players appreciated him for that. He still looked out for us, looked out for our bodies and treated us as men. A lot of players coming from the other eras, they appreciated that from coach and they want to play for him.”
Having a coach the Lions want to play for has been a common theme with Campbell. Clearly, he is the right man for the job considering how balanced he kept things during a wild and rough year. A veteran like Brockers appreciated it, which is very notable in the end.
Brockers’ words could carry some major weight ahead of free agency as the Lions try to lure some new free agents. It’s clear that players respect Campbell already, which could lead to some major winning in the future.
Brockers Compared Campbell to Sean McVay in 2021
Last offseason following his trade to Detroit, Brockers was an open book early and often as it related to his feelings on Campbell. As he said in another interview with Rome at the time, he believes Campbell compares favorably to Sean McVay given his interactions with the team and his players early on.
Later in the interview, Brockers was asked specifically what makes a coach a good communicator, and as he explained, it’s the ability of the boss to show he cares while also being demanding. That balance can make the difference in success or failure.
“Communication is vital and the way you communicate is vital because a lot of guys don’t want to be yelled at or screamed at or stuff like that,” Brockers told Rome. “Some guys want to be talked to as a man, gain an understanding of what you’re talking about and what you’re trying to teach and then let’s roll. A lot of these players in the league, we aren’t about a lot of BS. Just tell us what we have to do, explain it to us in terms we’ll understand and let’s get the job done.”
So far, it seems Campbell has struck that perfect balance, because he has reached Lions veterans as well as the young players. Bridging that gap is key toward being able to run a successful roster in the league.
Comparing Campbell to McVay is notable because the Rams’ boss has had tons of success early in his career. He’s not only won playoff games, made a Super Bowl and has now won one, but he has flipped a losing culture with his enthusiasm and ability to connect with every player in a locker room. The fact that Brockers saw those same elements in Campbell and enjoyed his first season is notable, and good news considering the Lions are trying for the same culture flip in the future.
Brockers Praised Aaron Glenn Similarly
Another coach that Brockers got to know during the 2022 season was defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. This year, Glenn helped keep things together for the Lions on the back end, and was a huge reason the team showed progress as the year went on. Brockers seemed to think that Glenn is primed for a head coaching job in the future because of how he handled things.
“I think he is (coach material), if you can bring a team together, bring a group of men together and be a leader of men, and that’s what he is, you can always lead a team,” Brockers told Rome in the interview. “He’s a big guy in our room obviously being the DC. He was very approachable you could go into his office, you could talk to him. Being a player who has played in this league, there’s a lot of things you can ask him and he will give you the player’s answer instead of a coach’s x’s and o’s and ‘this is supposed to be here.’ He can understand ‘okay, I understand why you backpedaled, I understand what you see.’ A lot of players appreciate that from him.”
A former player approach seems to have benefitted the Lions in a big way this past season, and Brockers knows that. Campbell is getting lots of credit from him, and his best traits could be what helps the team over the hump in the end for the future.