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Notes: Lions coaches leveraging their experience as players

Helps to establish “Buy In” when you’ve earned it on the field.

Detroit Lions Off-Season Workout Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The energy and demeanor of the current Lions coaching staff is a far cry from the previous regime, and there is little doubt at least part of the reason is their shared background playing the game at an elite level. Scanning the new staff, there are former pros at the highest levels of the staff setting the tone plus more working with the position groups those coaches actually played in the NFL.

On Friday, Eric Woodyard at The Worldwide Leader wrote a feature on the unimpeachable credibility the Detroit players-turned-coaches bring to the table. After all, who better to know what it takes to succeed on the field than the people who have actually done it themselves?

Woodyard’s article gets many different Lions players’ thoughts on how the coaches’ collective experience augments their message to the team, quoting veterans like Jared Goff and Michael Brockers as well as youngsters like Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift.

As pointed out in the article, head coach Dan Campbell is just one of six active NFL head coaches with experience as a former player in the league. Whether it works out or not, what the Lions are trying with their coaching staff is quite different from the norm, and appealing to both the players and the coaches themselves. When a former head coach like Anthony Lynn says he changed his career plans to come to Detroit because this looks like something special, he is not kidding. It seems like the fans agree, too.

Now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:

  • If you remember the Tight End University summit from a few weeks ago, it turns out the offensive linemen have a similar gathering of professionals going on this weekend:

  • A tale in two charts from Seth Walder. First, how often each defense ran man versus zone coverage in 2020 (horizontal) against how much better they are at man or zone (vertical):

Okay, the Lions are somehow in the middle of the pack there! Are they like not that bad, then? What about just plotting how good they are in man (horizontal) against how good they are in zone (vertical)?


  • Word of Melissa Gonzalez heading to the Olympics made it to the national NFL coverage. Around the NFL’s Kevin Patra is spreading the good news on the site.

  • Okay, this is pretty cool. We’re too old for this stuff, but if anybody young is interested in getting into football media, there are some opportunities out there:

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