While many folks on the outside are criticizing the decision making of Dan Campbell, the team’s players stood behind him in the immediate aftermath of the stinging defeat in the late stages.
Offensive lineman Taylor Decker spoke to the media after the game, and as he said, he plans on sticking by the coaches since they always have the backs of the players. He admitted no apology was even needed from Campbell after the game as responsible he felt.
“I felt like we were competing hard for most of the game, so do you appreciate that. I don’t think it’s an apology necessarily, but I do think I like that the coaches are a part of us. It’s not like the coaches and the players. We are all in this together, so I view it as he can say it’s on him, but it’s on us as a team,” Decker said. “If we get a couple more yards on the third-down, maybe it’s an easier decision for him. If we just get the first-down on third-down, I think that’s a tough thing to look at in hindsight.”
As Decker said, the Lions and Campbell are likely to continue to be aggressive no matter what plays out or what the result of the decisions are.
“We appreciate coach always believes in us and you probably know in the year-and-a-half he’s been here that we will go for it on fourth down. I’m sure we will continue to do that,” Decker said.
Some decisions may work and some may not, but Campbell can count on the players having his back no matter what comes as a result of the decisions.
Campbell Reacts to Lions’ Narrow Loss
In terms of his own reaction to the loss, Campbell admitted that if he had the decision to do over, he would have gone for it on fourth down. Speaking to the media after the game, Campbell’s regret seemed palpable.
As he said, he told the team that if he had things to do over, it would have been done differently in that situation.
“I freaking regret my decision there at the end. I should have gone for that fourth down. I told the team that. I should have gone for it,” Campbell said.
It seems the analytics agree with the decision to go. Hopefully, Campbell and the Lions can learn from this and improve in the future when these decisions are sure to arise.
Decker Thinks Lions are Close to Turnaround
In terms of where the Lions are at, Decker has seen plenty of seasons in the past and knows that the Lions are in good shape as a team, even in spite of the narrow loss.
“I just talked to the guys in the locker room after, and I said we are right there and I can feel it. I’ve been (here) seven years now and we are right there. We are so close to being a really, really good team but we just got to get over that hump. There’s just details that we have to eliminate and we have to go out there and I believe we do have to believe that we are those guys that people don’t want to play. We do not want to play against the Lions.”
As Decker admitted, the Lions have to find a way to clean some of the small details up in order to win.
“The film’s gonna reveal a lot with where we have to go with those little things that we have to do to get over the hump and be more consistent. I think we were right there,” he said. “We’ve had games playing here in Minnesota in the past where we’ve gotten blown out and it wasn’t competitive so there’s no such thing as a moral victory, but we’re there. We’re on the cusp of it I think.”
At a certain point, the Lions will be able to win a game as a result of a call. If and when that happens, Campbell might get the praise instead of the blame.