Lions special assistant Chris Spielman made fantastic appearance on brother's podcast

Chris Spielman appeared on "With The First Pick", and it was everything you'd expect.

An underrated part of the Detroit Lions' turnaround is the role former Lions' linebacker Chris Spielman as special assistant, has played. He was involved in the searches that landed general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell. In general he's involved where he is wanted to be, but rarely seen or heard and with no desire for credit.

So when the Lions' all-time leading tackler makes an appearance publicly, it stands out. He was on CBS' "With The First Pick" podcast on Wednesday, which his brother (and former NFL general manager) Rick Spielman co-hosts with CBS NFL analyst Ryan Wilson.

The entire thing is well worth watching/listening to, but let's take a look at some notable things Spielman said.

Chris Spielman provides insight on "With The First Pick"

A potential change to the NFL offseason calendar is out there. Lions head coach Dan Campbell sees a downside to the inevitable change in the preseason that will pay off to 18 regular season games. Spielman comes from a by-gone era in terms of training camp practices and less organized offseason work, but he does think the current time gap between OTAs and start of training camp is not necessarily ideal for players.

"I’m not advocating going back to that but I am advocating, let’s lead into training camp where these guys are in shape," Spielman said. "I do think you would prevent a ton of injuries in training camp if guys are acclimated four weeks before, even, we start training camp through OTAs, meetings, lifting, nutrition, your trainers and doctors and PTs are already here. It just makes sense. Everybody tries to over think things, if it’s common sense, it’s common sense.” 

Brian Branch is looking like a certified draft steal, who fell to the second round for the typical, flimsy reasons. Spielman spoke about landing Branch, with a big prediction.

“With Brian, all you had to do was watch the film,” Spielman said. “The dude was maybe one of the best tacklers that I’ve seen. As far as if a guy did catch the ball, he’d eliminate yards after the catch. His coverage, his movement skills, his instincts were off the charts. He’s just a great football player. Nobody cared what he ran. We just knew what we saw against the best competition that was out there in the SEC, playing against some of those receivers.”

"I really think that that may go down—now, I could be wrong—but that might go down as one of Brad’s (Holmes) best draft picks, if you start evaluating... obviously he had some good ones.”

Rick Spielman talked about his wife's reaction during Dan Campbell's introductory press conference ("Chris hired himself", to paraphrase). It was such a good clip that the NFL on CBS YouTube page separated it from the rest of the interview.

Brad Holmes sported a sweatshirt that said "Villain" at the 2023 NFL Combine. It's easy to assume what it means, in terms of the work he has done in the draft. But Spielman offered another definition, pointed at the players the Lions draft.

"Athletic ability, competes, and instincts,” Spielman said. “Obviously you have to have the athletic ability to play at this level. Instinct, it’s hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. Like how quickly does (a) guard pass off a stunt to a tackle and how quickly does he adjust? Or when a linebacker knows he has to go through a guy or around a guy or under a guy to make a play. You can just see a guy with instincts, and you can see a guy without instincts. I don’t know, Rick, if you agree with that or not. And then you have to find a guy that competes. What do you mean by that? Well, it means that he’s gonna go through the whistle.”

Spielman used Jahmyr Gibbs as an example, hinting at the initial criticism about taking a running back with the 12th overall pick and landing on the bottom line.

"So you’re drafting a football player, and you’re drafting (a) running back that can also be a little bit of a slot guy. So you’re drafting a guy that’s a problem. That’s when Brad—you ever see those shirts that just say ‘villain’? Jahmyr can be a villain for another team. So you draft these villains.”

Check out the entire appearance by Chris Spielman on "With The First Pick" below. It's well-worth the hour-plus investment, but the video does allow you to skip to certain segments.


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