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Tuesday open thread: Where do you want to see Dan Campbell grow as Lions head coach?

It’s easy to forget Dan Campbell is in just Year 3 of his head coaching career. Despite his early success, there’s still more room to improve as Detroit Lions head coach.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Campbell has already done the impossible. Through two years as coach of the Detroit Lions, he’s one of the most popular coaches of this franchise’s history. He has million of Lions fans believing in him and, more importantly, the future of this franchise. He’s managed to do so with *checks notes* ... a 12-21-1 record.

Of course, context matters, and the context here is that Dan Campbell took on a full rebuild project, both in terms of reconstructing the roster and building a culture foundation in Detroit that hasn’t taken in decades. As we near the start of Year 3, it looks like he’s possibly succeeded in both of those things in a fairly quick manner.

But that doesn’t make him the perfect coach. Campbell will be the first to tell you that he’s an ever-evolving coach, and his goal is to self-improve every season.

So today’s Question of the Days is:

Where would you like to see Dan Campbell grow in Year 3 as the Lions coach?

My answer: Late-game situations.

No coach is perfect in this situation, and it’s a lot harder to do so in the heat of the moment than it is from a seat on the couch. But Campbell knows how essential getting late-game situations right is to a successful football team. In fact, this year he put an early emphasis on situational football during OTAs and minicamp:

“We’ve always done a lot of situational work, but to me it’s we’re really doubling down on it. Like I want a lot more to where I’m forcing the coordinators to have to think on their feet. A lot more – it’s a little more chaotic, sporadic. I mean we’re doing it right now. And just trying to put everybody under a high level of stress, because I think that’s good for the coordinators and the players. That’s kind of where my approach has shifted a little bit, a lot more into that and – because I think the more we can handle under pressure and under fire and be able to adapt, adjust, the picture changes, I can adapt quickly. I think that’s where you – games are won and lost, when you’ve got the right guys.”

Campbell, himself, has admitted he needs to improve in those situations, as well. There was obviously last year’s decision to kick a late field goal in Minnesota—a mistake he immediately copped to. That said, he made a somewhat similar decision against the Vikings later in the season—opting to kick a 49-yard field goal with 22 seconds left already up eight points. It’s not the exact same scenario—the second decision was far more of a toss-up and it ended up working—but it does make me wonder about his late-game thought process.

Again, no coach is perfect and Campbell has NOT been an absolute disaster in late-game decisions. However, as this team continues to get better, the end of games are going to become more and more critical to this team’s success. I’d like to feel a little more confident in Campbell’s late-game management than I currently do.

My biggest concern is how much Campbell openly admits he trusts his “gut” rather than a set standard of operations. Sure, there is no cheat sheet that can accomodate all the ever-evolving factors (weather, how the game is currently going, etc.), but the “gut” can be influenced by flawed emotions and the heat of the moment.

What about you? How do you feel about Campbell’s game management? Is there something else you’d like to see from him? Scroll down to the bottom of the page and share your thoughts in the comment section.

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