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Dan Campbell on increased offensive role: ‘I want to be around the quarterback more’

Campbell is looking to put his mark on the Lions’ offense, and it sounds like they’re going to push the ball down the field more.

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Last week, head coach Dan Campbell told 97.1 The Ticket that he plans on getting more involved with the struggling Detroit Lions offense.

“Certainly I think I can help more with offense,” Campbell said. “I think I need to be a little more just involved in helping with it.”

This week, on his weekly appearance on the “Stoney & Jansen with Heather” show, Campbell went into a little more detail as to what he meant by getting more involved.

“I’ve been somewhat involved in game planning from afar. Just ideas you’re giving to the guys while they’re doing some stuff. I pop in, I pop out,” Campbell said. “But I think now, I’m going to be in there. Let’s just put it that way. I’m in there. I want to be heavily involved. Certainly, it still takes all of us, and everybody’s got good ideas and we’ll come to the best conclusion as to what we think will work or the best way to attack, in particular, Pittsburgh’s defense.”

The Lions' offense has been among the NFL’s worst in the first half of the season. They’re averaging just 16.8 points per game (29th) and have scored just one first-half touchdown in the past six games.

And while Campbell said last week that there weren’t any plans to make a change at quarterback, he did say something interesting this week about his relationship with Jared Goff.

“I want to be around the quarterback more,” Campbell said. “Some of that just means, that’s where you’re going to invest a little more time than everywhere else.”

While Goff hasn’t been the team’s only problem on offense, he’s certainly been one of them. The Lions quarterback has been wholly unwilling to test defenses downfield, averaging a league-low average depth of target of 6.1 yards. That, specifically, appears to be something Campbell wants to change.

“We’ve got to find a way to get a couple of shots, man. We have to. We’ve got to get some shots down the field,” Campbell said.

Part of that requires better play from the Lions’ wide receivers. Detroit's inexperienced wideouts have underperformed all year, and Detroit has struggled to find the right combination of players to put out there. While Kalif Raymond and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown have flashed, Detroit has failed to get much of anything out of Trinity Benson, KhaDarel Hodge, or Geronimo Allison.

But Campbell says the coaches need to do a better job of getting these players opportunities to shine.

“I do feel like we need to make more of a point of emphasis to get these guys the ball a little bit,” Campbell said. “It’s one thing to say, ‘Well, we’re not quite separating up there.’ Then pretty soon, they don’t get any balls. They’re not separating, we don’t throw it, and before long, guys lose a bit of confidence. So I think it’s important that we try to get everybody involved a little bit—not at the expense of not using your playmakers—but at the same token I know if we can just get some of these guys involved a little bit [...] get them some primary routes, get them some primary opportunities, I think we’ll hit a couple, and I think their confidence will grow, the quarterback’s confidence will grow. We just got to do it.”

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