Dan Campbell is now the head coach for the Detroit Lions and boy, his opening press conference says it all.
Campbell never has been a coordinator during his decade as an NFL coach. The most power he’s controlled on a roster was back in 2015 when named the interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins. The team went 5-7 under his watch.
Campbell was officially introduced as the Lions’ next head coach on Thursday afternoon. After struggling to find a winning culture in the past 25 years, the Ford Family is trusting his knowledge will bring glory back to the downtrodden team.
Even if he struggles early, the new coach wasn’t short on mind-boggling soundbites for his new fanbase, but one stood out most of all. For any opponent listening in at Ford Field, watch your knee caps in 2021.
“When you punch us back, we’re going to smile at you,” Campbell told reporters. “When you knock us down, we’re going to get up, and on the way up we are going to bite a kneecap off and we’re going to stand up.”
The Lions fanbase has a winner in Campbell
Campbell spent the past five years learning under Sean Payton with the New Orleans Saints. More than that, he’s considered a “football guy” who lives, eats and breathes the sport. Add in the respect of his players and front office, there’s no denying he’s qualified for a shot.
What might stand out most for Campbell knowing what it truly means to lose. Since the NFL expanded to a 16-game schedule, two teams have gone 0-16. Campbell was a tight end on the roster under for 2008 Lions under Rod Marinelli.
“My job is to make this team better, make it competitive, make it a winner,” Campbell said. “Look, I can’t guarantee wins, but I know this, man: My job is also to get this city back on its feet.”
The Lions have one of the most important positions already on the roster in Matthew Stafford. Now it’s time to build around him with a plethora of early selections. Players should want to play for him and the fan base is likely ready to run through a wall under his guidance.
Just remember when facing Detroit next season, cover your knees with double padding.