Dan Campbell hints at very competitive Lions training camp

New Orleans Saints assistant head coach and tight end coach Dan Campbell Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints assistant head coach and tight end coach Dan Campbell Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Lions are turning over a new leaf. And while longtime fans of the Pride have experienced their fair share of rebuilds, there’s always hope that this is the one that results in the team’s first playoff victory since the early 1990s.

Yet, it seems most analysts don’t believe the 2021 version of the Lions will be very competitive. In fact, longtime NFL writer Peter King recently ranked Detroit 30th in his FMIA power rankings. That means the Leos are more likely to land another top-five draft pick over getting to the postseason this year.

That low ranking is likely due to a new front office, coaching staff, and even a new starting quarterback under center. Throw in the team’s defense being ranked the worst in the NFL last season and serious question marks surrounding positional groups like wide receiver and at linebacker; is it any wonder why no one seems to believe Detroit will be competitive in 2021.

No one but new head coach Dan Campbell that is. Here’s what Campbell told Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com about the team’s new defensive coordinator, Aaron Glenn, whom he coached alongside with the New Orleans Saints for five seasons.

"“I’ve got a feeling you guys are going to get a show in training camp some days because I already know this from AG (defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn), he’s competitive as hell. He’s pretty mild-mannered and he knows how to teach, great guy. But man, when you put him in an environment to where it’s competitive, he’s a little pit bull now and he explodes.”"

Campbell would also mention that new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn is similar to Glenn and certainly won’t back down from a good challenge. So there’s a growing belief that the competition between the coaches, many of whom are former NFL players themselves, could be the spark that ignites change on the field this summer.

The Lions certainly have several players on the roster with something to prove in 2021. That has a lot to do with the fact that nearly every one of the free agents Detroit signed earlier this offseason were inked to one-year deals.

Related Story. Lions offense still ahead of defense, but not like we’re used to. light

But the player with the biggest chip on his shoulder is likely new quarterback Jared Goff. The former number one overall selection in the 2016 draft was all but thrown under the bus by his former team, the Los Angeles Rams. That despite Goff earning two Pro Bowl nods, leading the Rams to four winning seasons and a Super Bowl appearance in five years.