The golden nugget trapped inside Dan Campbell’s treasure chest of bluster and mustard

Will it be better to see Dan Campbell stalking the sidelines at Ford Field as Detroit Lions head coach or stomping Drew McIntrye for the WWE championship belt?

That’s the kind of day it was over the Zoom airwaves as Dan “Shit Starter” Campbell introduced himself to the Detroit media and Lions fans with a punch to the face and kick to the groin.

Campbell won the press conference with his words, his enthusiasm and with a flying Suplex that placed the poor press conference into submission. We all fell for the theatrics, including me and has overweight and out of shape Lions fans wanting to run through a brick wall for this guy. However, it wasn’t his roar that should win you over.

Inside his bad ass talk of hitches and Harvey’s and kicking people in the teeth, Campbell snuck in the winning formula that could be successful once he figures this head coaching thing out. The Lions brass either figured out that golden nugget or fell for his fire and brimstone.

A few days ago I’d written that the Lions need more emotion to ignite that dressing room than brilliant X’s and O’s. Campbell vows Detroit Lions will ‘kick you in the teeth’

“This team is going to take on the identity of this city” Campbell said. “And this city has been down, but it found a way to get up. It’s found a way to overcome adversity. So this team is going to be built on we’re going to kick you in the teeth, all right? And when you punch us back, we’re going to smile at you. And when you knock us down, we’re going to get up. And on the way up, we’re going to bite a kneecap off, all right?  We’re going to stand up, and then it’s going to take two more shots to knock us down. And on the way up, we’re going to take your other kneecap. And we’re going to get up and it’s going to take three shots to get us down. And when we do (get up), we’re going to take another hunk out of you. Before long, we’re going to be the last one standing. That’s going to be the mentality.”

That’s the bluster. Here comes the golden nugget that should give fans hope.

He does not have an offensive or defensive philosophy. He wants to take advantage of matchups. During years of covering this team I often asked outsiders what the Lions needed to become a championship contender. League people said two things.

The Lions needed to draft a roster to defeat the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears. If they had that then the rest would take care of itself. The Lions also needed to obtain those players and match them up against the opponent’s weaknesses within their division. Maybe the Lions have tried that, but I never heard a coach or GM say that here during a press briefing or during a meeting off the big stage.

“A lot of it is about matchups,” Campbell said. “Here is my philosophy on offense and defense for that matter. We are going to run a system that puts our best against their worst. If we can exploit a weakness, we are going to do it.”

If a play does that then run it until you are blue in the face. Force the opponent to adjust and prove they can stop it. The Lions too often run random plays. If a play is successful they will keep it in the rotation but don’t run it enough to win ball games.

The Bad Boys Pistons used to run a high pick and roll play called “Four Out” between Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer. Once against the Atlanta Hawks they ran the play 10 consecutive times and scored nine times. They were running their strength against the Hawks’ weakness. The Hawks called time out.

During the time out Pistons Coach Chuck Daly remained silent for 55 seconds of the 60 second time out. He kneeled in front of his team rolling his tongue. When the buzzer sounded he shouted “Four Out.”

In other words the Hawks had to prove they could stop the play. They didn’t. The Pistons ran the play another five times and scored the majority of the time.

The Lions must find their “Four Out” plays and their “Four Out” players. Time will tell if they have their “Four Out” coach.

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Published by terryfoster8

I am a 58 year old retired sports journalist, husband and father of two living outside of Detroit in search of his next big adventure in life.

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