Lions’ Dan Campbell Breaks Silence on DE Bruce Irvin’s Playing Status

Dan Campbell

Getty Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell.

After another game without much of a pass rush, questions have reemerged whether the Detroit Lions should add a veteran defensive lineman through free agency. But Lions already did that recently with the signing of 36-year-old Bruce Irvin.

Irvin just hasn’t played yet. But, Lions head coach Dan Campbell revealed in his November 28 appearance on 97.1 The Ticket that that could change.

“Potentially,” Campbell said, via SI.com’s All Lions’ John Maakaron, in response to Irvin playing in Week 13 against the New Orleans Saints. “We’re looking at everybody, and he’s a guy that we’ve got our eye on.”

Irvin joined the Detroit practice squad on November 16. The Lions, though, have yet to make him active for a game this season.

With the Seattle Seahawks in 2022, Irvin had 28 combined tackles, including 5 tackles for loss, 9 quarterback hits and 3.5 sacks in 11 games.


What Bruce Irvin Could Bring to the Lions

The Lions were upfront when signing Irvin that he wasn’t going to play immediately. Irvin hasn’t played an NFL game since January, and he obviously missed Detroit’s offseason training.

The 36-year-old didn’t train with any team during the offseason and had to work himself back into football shape.

Campbell wasn’t clear during his radio appearance about whether that’s the main reason he hasn’t played or not. But with Irvin having spent the past two weeks with the Lions practice squad, and Detroit needing a more consistent pass rush, it would make sense for Irvin to receive an opportunity to play in Week 13.

Irvin made an impact even in a small role with the Seahawks last season. During Seattle’s final two games last season (including the playoffs), he had 2.5 sacks, 3 quarterback hits, and 3 tackles for loss despite playing about 46% of the team’s defensive snaps.

He played more snaps earlier in the 2022 season. But even when his playing time decreased down the stretch, he remained productive, as evidenced by that stat line.

If he could provide the Lions 15-25 snaps in pass-rushing situations during Week 13, he could possibly make a similar impact against the Saints.

Detroit could sure use more pressure from Irvin or any defensive lineman. The Lions have only 8 sacks in the past five games, and 6 of them came against the Las Vegas Raiders.

In fact, 18 of Detroit’s 23 sacks this season have come in three games. The Lions have not recorded a sack in four contests this season.

Perhaps Irvin is the answer for the Lions to generate more consistent pressure.


Dan Campbell Puts Lions on Notice

Campbell appeared to challenge his team in his press conference on November 27. He struck a similar tone during his radio appearance.

The head coach stressed that the Lions were out-coached and outplayed against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving. But what’s most important going forward is how the team responds.

“Look, it happens unfortunately. The shame of it would be if we followed up with another performance that isn’t our best,” Campbell said on 97.1 The Ticket. “I don’t believe that’s going to happen. I know it’s not going to happen.”

“So, we know we got a tough opponent coming up in a tough environment, and man, our guys are going to embrace this. They just do. They always do. We’ll bounce back.”

The Lions will visit the Saints on December 3. Kickoff will be at 1 pm ET.

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