The Detroit Lions' defensive lapses over the last month have been easy to see and well-documented. It's a legit concern until further notice, into December and then to the playoffs. But they are still top half of the league in total yards allowed (14th), the run defense has still been good and the third down defense is top-12 in the league.
If a few plays go a different way last week against the New Orleans Saints, the Lions' defense would probably have looked a lot better. A roughing the passer penalty on Bruce Irvin was bad, safety Tracy Walker was late to pick up a receiver and Brian Branch had a deflection that landed in the hands of Saints' wide receiver Chris Olave.
Irvin should know better than to put his entire weight on Derek Carr, but any time a quarterback gets hit there's a 50-50 chance a flag is coming. Walker missed an assignment, and the Branch deflection was sheerly bad luck.
Dan Campbell not panicking about the Lions' defense right now
During his appearance on 97.1 The Ticket on Tuesday, Campbell talked about those three plays against the Saints within the notion of "we gotta clean a couple of those things up."
"Here’s the thing, one of them is a (missed assignment), one is a technique issue, leverage, we had the roughing the passer, and the other was a tipped ball that Branch had and Jerry’s sitting there and they got. You make one of those or two of those stops, it’s a totally different game. So we’re where we need to be,"
Then he dropped a fresh addition to his list of memorable quotes, in a nod to Branch's pass deflection that ended up as a big play for the Saints.
"Bad luck happens. I don’t want to see them poopy-faced over there when, 'Aw man, I can’t believe that happened, that’s bad luck.’ Go to the next play. There’s nothing we can do about it. We’re fine. We gotta clean up our errors, man. Just do your job, handle your business and we’ll be just fine,"
Players have to have short memories when it comes to mistakes, and bad luck happens within games. But only Campbell would go with "poopy-faced" to describe what he doesn't want to see from Lions' defensive players (and presumably all players) when things go awry. Not that we should be surprised that he found a unique way to say it.