Has Dan Campbell been ‘Lionized’ already?
By Robert Jones
Dan Campbell and Matt Patricia inherited different rosters
Five games into the Dan Campbell era, the Lions are winless. Even Patricia’s 2-3 record at the same juncture of his first season at the helm is a hardy improvement.
That would be like comparing lemons to hamburgers though. Campbell and Patricia inherited very different rosters.
Patricia was handed the keys to a 9-7 team that had just missed the playoffs under Jim Caldwell. It was expected that he and Bob Quinn would simply add talent and start contending. Instead, Patricia sent player after player packing over his almost three years at the helm.
Many of the players Patricia inherited didn’t fit his ideal for what the Lions needed to win. So the process of weeding out players was often confusing. Sending Tate packing was a legitimate move, but it still hurt to lose one of the offense’s best weapons.
Then the heart of the defense was ripped out by sending Quandre Diggs and Darius Slay packing. A defense that was systematically dismantled from average to putrid ultimately doomed Patricia, a professed defensive guru.
Campbell inherited a team that finished 5-11. Before he even had a chance to enjoy his new office, it came out Matthew Stafford had requested a trade and the Lions planned to honor his wish. Campbell also lost all three of the teams’ top receivers to free agency, and he was saddled with a bad defense.
Patricia took a solid team and tore it down. Campbell has a team whose cupboard isn’t completely bare, but it’s awfully close and he has to build it into a contender.
The Lions also have the second-youngest roster in the NFL, including inexperienced cornerbacks that are getting a major baptism by fire.
There are legitimate reasons the Lions are winless. However, don’t expect Campbell to give excuses. Yet he was emotional after this latest heart-breaking loss. Is he starting to lose the knee-cap-biting fire he brought with him to the Motor City?