The Detroit Lions are entering Year 2 of Dan Campbell era, and according to the head coach, they’re entering it a bit wiser. At this time last year, the team was still feeling each other out, implementing a new scheme and culture, and teaching fundimentals. Now, with culture and expectations set, Lions players have graduated to a new level of learning.
“There’s things that are being taught now that are just—we’re just at a different level,” Campbell said prior to Tuesday’s mandatory minicamp practice. “We are. We’re at a higher level right now. We’re kind of beyond some of more remedial things that we had to do last year, because we had just come in, it was a new system, it was new everything. We’re all trying to figure each other out.
“We’re just at a little higher level intellectually as it pertains to football, which is a good thing. That’s really on both sides of the ball. That’s where I can definitely feel it right now.”
Of course, Campbell also notices the increase in talent in Detroit, whether it’s the development of the young players who litter the roster on both sides of the ball, or the additions of players like Aidan Hutchinson, DeShon Elliott and DJ Chark, as better players means more competition and higher energy.
“Our energy level—look, our energy was good last year—but we are—I feel like these guys are really competing and flying around out there,” Campbell said. “We’ve got some of our young guys are little more developed, we’ve got a little bit more talent. The more talent you have, the better you make the other talent around you, and they just kind of push each other.”
This Year 2 buzz isn’t just inside Allen Park, though. Plenty of national outlets saw how the Lions finished last year, admire general manager Brad Holmes’ roster building process, and are picking them as a team that could surprise some in 2022.
However, when asked if he takes note of any of the outside noise or if the team talks about it at all, Campbell essentially said it’s not even on his radar.
“No, I don’t (talk about it),” Campbell said. “I just take it as it comes.”