Campbell made a controversial call to go on fourth and one deep in Chicago territory and not put points on the board. That decision has led to plenty of debate within the Detroit fan base, and a prominent radio host in town has come out against Campbell’s move late in the game in a very strong way.
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Mike Valenti of 97.1 The Ticket’s The Valenti Show With Rico went on the air following the defeat on Monday, October 4 and called Campbell out for the decision making during the game. As Valenti said, the move to take points off the board and go on fourth down with the game very much in the balance is a significant strike against the coach’s early record in Detroit.
“For me, Dan Campbell got strike one. This isn’t about a game plan, not about a draft pick, not about who played this many snaps or who should have done this (or that). There are moments in a game where, run the game right,” Valenti said. “You are down 10 points. I don’t care how we got there. Under five minutes to go, and you have a chip shot field goal, it’s fourth and one. Kick the ball. You go down seven, you got timeouts in your pocket. You got a rookie quarterback on the other side of the field that was nowhere near as hot in the second half as he was in the first. Take the points. You go down by a score, you battle back from three scores down. You take the points. Instead, Dan Campbell, no huddle, fourth and one, incomplete, game over. Why is the game over? Because you don’t have any time to get two scores. After the game Dan Campbell offered you ‘I trusted my gut.’ Nope, not having it. Run the game right.”
Instead of panicking like Valenti believes Campbell did in the heat of the moment, the host said he would have preferred the coach not make a panic move and instead taken some time to think about what he was doing before making a rash decision on the field at a critical moment.
“Take a calming breath. Take the points. I will tell you, you’re down seven with four and change plus timeouts, there’s a very good chance you’re getting that football with a chance to tie the game,” he explained. “Instead, you took away your team’s ability to compete. And what I don’t like with this guy, and lord knows, I’m going to do everything to not judge this guy because of the roster, but when you do things that are unequivocally cave man, unequivocally football guy, unequivocally stupid and really, for lack of a better term, just unequivocally wrong, it’s a strike against the record. (Sunday) was Dan Campbell’s first ‘Lion coach moment.'”
Thus far, Campbell only has four games under his belt, so the body of work is far from complete. Even so, Valenti seems very worried about the way things are trending after this move.
Valenti Compares Campbell’s Decision to Failed Lions Coaches
As most fans know, the Lions have had a relative graveyard of coaches through the years, and all of those personalities have had a moment where folks question if they are right for the job based on their decision making. While the Lions might not be there completely yet thanks to the state of their roster, Valenti admitted he saw similarities between some of the failed Lions coaches and Campbell’s first mistake.
“I have a hard time judging anything because this roster is terrible, but I will tell you, when coaches do stupid stuff, they have to be judged.” Valenti said. “It is taking everything in my power not to really lose my temper over it. Whatever Dan Campbell preaches in practice and whatever he deices to do in practice, it’s his business and wins and losses will dictate. When you do things out in the open that are just so brazenly stupid, fourth and one, down 10, four and change (on the clock), chip shot field goal, you gotta take it…the risk-reward was not aligned. This was an absolute (Jim) Caldwell, (Jim) Schwartz, (Matt) Patricia moment. It’s a bad job.”
as Valenti says, he’s forgiven a lot of Campbell’s antics thus far, but one thing he will not forgive is bad coaching on the field since it is the quickest way for a boss to be run out of town.
“When you start doing the dumb stuff between the white lines, and it effects winning and losing, you don’t leave me an out. There’s no grace, there’s no understanding. If you’re a football coach and you can’t stop doing dumb things in between the lines, you’re not going to be here long,” Valenti said.
Campbell will have time to prove he is different from some of his infamous predecessors.
Campbell’s Explanation for Lions’ Fourth Down Call
Detroit watched as Jared Goff threw the ball away on the play and the Bears took over on downs instead of taking a chance at making a short field goal that could have kept pressure on what was a reeling Chicago team. When the Lions turned the ball over on downs, the game essentially was over.
In spite of that, though, Campbell wasn’t backing down after the game on Sunday, October 3 on either call. As he said, if his gut is telling him to go, he is going to continue to do it.
“You kind of take it as it comes. My gut tells me to go for it. You get down there that tight, you get seven out of it, that’s a good thing.” Campbell said. “If it doesn’t work out which you don’t want, you got ’em pined back there. In a game like that where you get down a couple scores, kicking field goals might not be the game where as last week it could have been more of that game. You take it as it comes.”
Specifically, on the call late in the game, Campbell said he was showing his offense full confidence to make a play that thy simply didn’t end up making.
“I trusted us to score a touchdown. If I am going to continue to trust, then we have to start working it much better and be better, because we’re not efficient enough right now,” the coach said.
Count on the move getting debated the rest of the week, and count on some folks to judge Campbell harshly for the move.