Lions offensive Penei Sewell staunchly, eloquently defends Dan Campbell amid lingering criticism

Lions right tackle Penei Sewell not only defending Dan Campbell amid criticism from the NFC Championship Game, he did so rather eloquently.


If we know anything, we know Dan Campbell has great belief in his players and wears his emotions on his sleeve when talking about players from his first season as Detroit Lions head coach. He is also aggressive, as the Lions have gone for it on fourth down more than any team in the league over his three seasons.

Campbell did not change his stripes in the NFC Championship Game loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Two second half fourth downs that were not converted loomed large in a three-point loss, even as the analytics say the difference between going for it and kicking a field goal was basically a coin flip from a win probability perspective. It's also fair to say the distance limitations of kicker Michael Badgley drove those decisions to a degree.

If one or both of those fourth downs is converted and the Lions are heading for Las Vegas to play in the Super Bowl, Campbell would be a hero. The results-based criticism this past week has been expected.

Penei Sewell takes opportunity to defend Dan Campbell

Lions right tackle Penei Sewell is in Orlando at the Pro Bowl this weekend. Via ESPN's Eric Woodyard, he took his opportunity to defend his head coach.

"I don't agree with any criticism towards Coach. I've got his back until the end," Sewell told ESPN.

Then Sewell went further to praise Campbell.

"If he tells me to jump off a cliff with him, I'm right next to him," Sewell said. "I'm so serious. So, whatever he says, whatever he calls, we've just got to execute. So, that's on us really. That's my guy."

Campbell did acknowledge his regret over a late-game run call that cost the Lions a timeout late in the loss to the 49ers. But his players don't want him to change his level of aggressiveness, knowing they need to make sure they hold up their end. Not that Sewell's words were necessary to confirm it, but they're as all-in with him as he is with them.

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