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#pounditMonday, October 3, 2022

Articles tagged: Detroit Lions

Lions make use of very unusual practice strategy

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 certainly done some things differently since becoming head coach of the Detroit Lions, and Monday offered another example of that.

The Lions practiced Monday without any input from the coaching staff at all. The practice was entirely player-run, and the only involvement from coaches was Campbell quietly observing. The rest of the coaching staff did not even attend.

It’s hard to say whether this will actually help the Lions, but it will definitely break up the training camp routine. As offensive tackle Taylor Decker said, it was the sort of practice that the players had never experienced before.

Campbell certainly seems to be a strong motivational figure and is good at getting a laugh as well. Whether this actually helps or not, there’s a decent chance that it earns him some extra points from his players. That can be meaningful.

Steelers could trade Mason Rudolph to 1 NFC team?

Mason Rudolph on the sideline

Aug 12, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) runs off the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Rudolph appears to be the odd man out of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback room, which may see him land on a different team quite soon.

According to Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan, one unnamed former NFL general manager believes the Steelers may be on the verge of shipping Rudolph to the Detroit Lions. The Lions do not explicitly have a quarterback need, but could be in the hunt for a backup for Jared Goff.

Rudolph had been competing with free agent acquisition Mitchell Trubisky for the starting quarterback job, with rookie Kenny Pickett also in the mix. Trubisky was always the favorite to win the role despite some training camp struggles, and with Pickett also involved, the Steelers probably would not have much use for Rudolph.

The Steelers are plenty familiar with Rudolph, who has played 17 games over three seasons as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup. He has thrown for 2,366 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions over that period.

Reason Jared Goff played in Lions’ preseason opener revealed

Jared Goff in a hat

Aug 21, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) smiles on the field before playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Campbell made the surprising decision to start quarterback Jared Goff in Friday night’s preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons, but the head coach says it actually was not his call.

Campbell said during the week that his plan was to have Goff sit while other Lions starters played the first quarter. He told reporters that Goff was “in a good spot” and there was no need to risk an injury. Goff played anyway. According to Campbell, the veteran “demanded” to be on the field.

“He came into my office and said, ‘I want to play,’” Campbell said, via Jeremy Reisman of Pride of Detroit. “And I said, ‘Well, you’re not playing.’ He said, ‘Well, if they’re playing, I’m playing.’ And I said, ‘Okay, you’re playing.”

Goff played the first series and looked sharp. He completed 3-of-4 passes for 47 yards and led a touchdown drive. The only incompletion was a dropped pass from running back Jamaal Williams.

Left tackle Taylor Decker loved that his quarterback insisted on playing.

“You want your quarterback to go out there. He’s like, ‘If my guys are out there, I’m going to go out there and compete and we’re going to go right down the field and score,’” Decker said. “And that’s what we did.”

Reports from training camp have indicated that Detroit’s offense looks sharp. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is poised for a huge second season after catching 90 passes for 912 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie. Detroit won just three games in 2021, so there is plenty of room for improvement. Goff is at least getting off on the right foot.

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.