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#pounditMonday, September 26, 2022

Articles tagged: Detroit Lions

Dan Campbell steals the show during first ‘Hard Knocks’ episode

Dan Campbell on the field

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell on the field before action against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2021, at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/USA TODAY NETWORK

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell delivered some incredibly funny moments during the latest installment of HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”

Campbell has become known for his sometimes hilarious and motivational quotes, and that continued to be the case during Tuesday’s season premiere.

While addressing his team during a meeting, Campbell provided a somewhat graphic example of the lengths he is willing to go to in order to win.

“It doesn’t matter if you have one a– cheek and three toes, I will beat your a–,” Campbell said (edited for profanity by LBS).

Warning: The below tweet contains profanity.

One of the funniest moments of the episode came while the final credits were rolling. Campbell was out on the practice field, and dropped a “deez nuts” joke that he referred to as “old school.”

While the funny comments tend to stand out for Campbell, he has no shortage of fiery and passionate messages as well. On Saturday, he delivered a staunch warning to the NFL in front of the Detroit fanbase during the Lions’ annual Fan Fest at Ford Field.

It will be interesting to see what else Campbell has in store for the remaining four episodes.

Dan Campbell responds to Lions’ unusual retirements

Dan Campbell on the field

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell on the field before action against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2021, at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/USA TODAY NETWORK

The Detroit Lions have been hit by a series of premature retirements during preseason, leading some to question what is going on within the organization.

Cornerback Jermaine Waller, nose tackle John Penisini, and receiver Corey Sutton are among the Lions players who announced their retirements in recent weeks. None of the three players are over the age of 24, which further raised eyebrows. A fourth player, Tyrell Crosby, accused the Lions of mishandling an injury and not caring about players. Crosby spent three seasons with Detroit before being released in August 2021.

On Monday, coach Dan Campbell was asked if there was a pattern to these early retirements. The coach said the decisions were not “just about football” and that the NFL is “not for everybody.”

Campbell’s comments probably won’t make the questions go away. That’s especially true after what Crosby said, particularly when the organization has been accused of mishandling injuries before.

Campbell has won a lot of plaudits for his style of coaching in Detroit, and has come across as people-oriented even when making tough decisions. This issue certainly raises doubts for some, even if there is ultimately nothing to it.

Dan Campbell issues warning to rest of NFL

Dan Campbell on the field

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell on the field before action against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2021, at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/USA TODAY NETWORK

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell has become known for his motivational and sometimes hilarious quotes, and he added to that growing list on Saturday.

The Lions held their annual Fan Fest at Ford Field, an open practice inside Detroit’s home stadium for fans to attend.

Campbell addressed the fans in attendance, noting that the grittiness and blue-collar essence of the fanbase and city would be reflected in how his team tries to play every week.

The second-year head coach also took the opportunity to issue a warning to teams around the league with a lion-based analogy.

“We are freakin’ starving,” Campbell said. “We are starving! So the hyenas better get out of the way.”

Campbell’s tenure has provided some other notable soundbites. He gave wide receiver Jordan Reynolds the hilarious “The Praying Mantis” nickname during the first week of training camp, and delivered a funny quote about how he felt about defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn being considered for the Green Bay Packers’ head coaching job earlier this offseason.

The Lions finished with a 3-13-1 record during Campbell’s first season in 2021, but were a tougher team to play against than in recent years. While the team may still be some time away from getting the “hyenas” out of their way, Campbell has certainly given Lions fans some much-needed hope.

H/T USA Today

Former Ohio State star QB joining Lions’ coaching staff

Dan Campbell on the field

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell on the field before action against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2021, at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/USA TODAY NETWORK

A former Ohio State standout is getting his start in coaching with the Detroit Lions.

The Lions announced Saturday that former Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett is joining the team’s coaching staff as an offensive assistant. This is Barrett’s first coaching job at any level.

Barrett played for Ohio State from 2013 to 2017 and was a four-year starter for the Buckeyes. He was the starting quarterback for the bulk of the 2014 season that culminated in a national championship, though he missed the playoff that year due to an injury suffered in the final regular season game against Michigan. After that, he bounced around several NFL practice squads, but never played a regular season snap.

The Lions have plenty of ex-players on their staff, headed up by coach Dan Campbell. Campbell certainly values his assistants highly, so Barrett should have a pretty supportive environment to get to work in.

Report: Lions prioritizing new contract for key player

Dan Campbell on the field

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell on the field before action against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2021, at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/USA TODAY NETWORK

The Detroit Lions are in the middle of a full-scale retooling, but at least one of their current players appears to be firmly in their future plans.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler noted in a recent column that the Lions are expected to prioritize contract talks with tight end TJ Hockenson at some point this summer. Hockenson, the team’s first-round pick in 2019, has two years remaining on his rookie contract, as the team picked up his fifth-year option for 2023 earlier in the offseason.

Hockenson is a no-brainer extension candidate. The 25-year-old has 12 touchdown receptions in his first three NFL seasons and is already being recognized as a solid tight end who can block and catch. While not necessarily a superstar, Hockenson is clearly a core player with room to grow.

The Lions have been praised for their recent drafts, and have certainly added some attitude to the organization in recent years. If they have a bright future, Hockenson looks poised to be a part of it.

Lions coach provides update on Jameson Williams’ status for training camp

Jameson Williams talks with the media

Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions wide receiver and No. 12 overall pick Jameson Williams is not expected to partake in the team’s training camp this summer.

Head coach Dan Campbell told reporters Thursday that it’s unlikely Williams will be able to participate in training camp.

“I don’t see him being ready for training camp,” Campbell said via Chris Burke of The Athletic. “I’m very hopeful, but I don’t see it. We’re gonna do this thing the right way, and when he’s ready he’ll be ready.”

The Lions are taking things slowly with Williams as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered during the 2022 National Championship Game. While Williams has made quick progress during his rehab, Detroit appears to be in no rush to get Williams back on the field until he’s fully healthy.

With training camp scheduled for the end of July, the 21-year-old Williams would have had a tough time making it back just seven months post-ACL surgery. The Lions open their season against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 11.

Williams likely would’ve been the top wide receiver taken in the 2022 NFL Draft if not for his injury. During his third year with Alabama last season, the first-team All-American had 79 receptions for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns in 15 games.

Lions CB makes tough admission about his Achilles injury

Jeff Okudah on the field

Nov 15, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah (30) before the game against the Washington Football Team at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

During a season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers last year, Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah suffered a ruptured Achilles. It was a devastating injury, but Okudah tried to remain positive after learning the diagnosis.

That positivity was short-lived. Although Okudah managed to put on a brave face for his teammates, it faded the second he slid into his aunt’s car following the game.

“The second I got into the car with my aunt, I just broke down and started crying,” Okudah said, via The Detroit News. “She had never really seen me cry before, but it was a lot of like — I just had big hopes for that last year. So that day I was really down. It kind of felt like I was living a nightmare, honestly, man.”

Okudah had struggled as a rookie in 2020, but entered the 2021 season as a more confident and competent player. He was in good shape physically and mentally, and felt primed for a breakout year. But that ended in short order.

The good news for Okudah is that sports medicine has advanced significantly in recent years. No longer was a ruptured Achilles considered career-ending. In fact, repair and rehab have become so effective that athletes are returning from injuries faster than ever.

But that only addresses one part of the issue. The mental struggle is the other part.

“Man, the mental aspect is definitely, probably (tougher),” Okudah said. “The rehab is going to be a strenuous process, but something you’re really accustomed to being an athlete, especially playing a sport this long. Mentally, it’s tough, just because you’re out of your routine. Getting hurt in Week 1, it’s a long season. Sitting down for 16 weeks, you have a lot of time to just reflect, self-evaluate. On the bright side, you’re able to really look at yourself, have honest conversations with people around you, and plan a comeback, plan a comeback you can be proud of.”

Okudah is now nine months removed from his injury and although he’s wearing a red non-contact jersey during OTA practices, things are progressing. No one on the team has provided a timetable for his return, but there is hope Okudah will be ready come Week 1.

Lions assistant questioning D’Andre Swift’s toughness?

D'Andre Swift speaking

Feb 26, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back D’Andre Swift (RB25) speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody is mistaking D’Andre Swift for Iron Man these days, but one Detroit Lions assistant is taking it up a peg.

Lions assistant head coach Duce Staley made some harsh comments about the team’s starting running back Swift this week. Staley, who also serves as Detroit’s running backs coach, appeared to question Swift’s toughness when it comes to fighting through injury.

“Injuries happen, but one of the things Swift and I had a conversation about is you’ve got to be able to play through some of these injuries as a running back,” said Staley, per Sports Illustrated. “We all know there’s a difference between being injured and hurt.

“As soon as you step in this building as a running back, Day One of training camp, you’re not going to feel the same,” Staley added. “There will be some things you have to fight through.”

The 23-year-old Swift probably needs to hear that advice. While he is an explosive, versatile back who has carried the Lions offense at times, Swift missed three games as a rookie in 2020 and four games in his second year last season. It was an upper-body injury (a shoulder sprain) that plagued Swift for a good chunk of 2021.

For Staley, who was just hired by the Lions last year, he was an NFL running back himself and is well aware of the bumps and bruises that come with playing the position. But Staley appeared in all 16 games a total of five different times and can now impart his durability tips onto Swift.

On top of the injury issues, Swift has also had some unfortunate moments to start his Detroit career. But there is still plenty of time for Swift to right the ship, and Staley is challenging him to do just that, starting with availability.

Dan Campbell delivers hilarious quote about almost losing assistant

Dan Campbell on the field

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell on the field before action against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2021, at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/USA TODAY NETWORK

Dan Campbell has been a quote machine since he was hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions last year, and he delivered one of his best on Thursday.

Campbell was asked by a reporter how he felt about defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn receiving consideration for the Green Bay Packers’ head coaching job earlier this offseason. He said he would have been thrilled for Glenn if his assistant got the job. However, Campbell said not having Glenn on his staff would feel like walking around with no pants on.

Leave it to Campbell to come up with an analogy like that.

For better or worse, Campbell is one of the most emotional coaches in football. He is also hilarious, which we saw right away when he got the Lions job last year. Fans in Detroit seem to like him, but the Lions will have to improve upon their 3-13-1 record from a year ago. Campbell’s schtick will only be charming if the team starts winning.

Dan Campbell has surprising response to Lions’ primetime snub

Dan Campbell on the field

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell on the field before action against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2021, at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/USA TODAY NETWORK

Some around the Detroit Lions may feel disrespected that the team is the only one in the NFL to not be scheduled for a primetime game in the 2022 season. Head coach Dan Campbell clearly is not one of them.

Campbell was asked his feelings about the Lions being the lone NFL team to not be scheduled in primetime this coming season. The head coach seemed genuinely enthusiastic, responding that the consistent schedule of 1 p.m. games was good for routine.

“It’s awesome. One o’clock games, it’s awesome,” Campbell said at his Saturday press conference. “You knock them out, you go home, you get ready for the next opponent. You’re not waiting all day in the hotel, all night, then you go out and you’re on a short week, it feels like, so I got no problem. And by the way, you can get flexed (Weeks) 5 to 15, so who said we can’t get flexed?”

Talk about turning a negative into a positive. Campbell doesn’t seem to be putting on a front here, either. He seems genuinely thrilled to have avoided any Sunday, Monday, or Thursday night windows. The team’s social media staff didn’t seem as thrilled, but that’s just natural.

As Campbell noted, the Lions can be flexed into primetime in the latter part of the season. If that happens, it probably means the Lions are beating expectations, so the coach could probably get over it in that scenario.